Sunday, December 6, 2015

Advent, Advent! ... how to Make Berliners

Advent, Advent! Today is December 6, the day St. Nikolaus comes, and with him — at least in the Southern part of Germany and Austria — Krampus. If you were nice, Nikolaus brings you an orange and some cookies, if you were naughty, Krampus would either bring you a piece of coal or spank you. Well, these were the old days; kids today get a Star Wars action figure; and a piece of coal might severely traumatize them. You, however, will be getting a recipe for Berliners, those jelly-filled specialty people from Berlin call Pfannkuchen, from our Berlin Cookbook, by Rose Marie Donhauser!

And here is your recipe!

2 cups +  3 tablespoons flour
1 yeast cake (3 1/4 tablespoons)
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup lukewarm milk
8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
grated lemon peel (from 1/2 .unprocessed lemon)
3 egg yolks

For the work surface: flour
For the filling:
jelly or jam or your choice
(apricot, cherry, raspberry, etc.)
oil for deep frying
powdered sugar for dusting, or sugar for dredging

1) For the dough, sift the flour into a bowl and make a depression
in the middle. Crumble yeast cake into the depression, 
add sugar and milk. Dust with a little flour from the edge;
chop butter and distribute around the edge. Cover the bowl
and set aside to rise in a warm, draft-free place, about 30 minutes.

2) Knead the dough with the salt, lemon peel, and egg
yolks. Cover again and let stand 1 hour.

3) Knead the dough well on a floured work surface and flatten (or roll out). 
On half the dough, punch out circles with a glass or cup.
Put a teaspoon of jam or jelly in the middle of each circle.

4) On the remaining half of the dough, use the glass or cup to surround
and cut or punch out more circles of dough; place these over the tops of the first circles
(the ones with the jelly), and the edges together,
to seal circles (the ones with the jelly), and the edges together.

5) Turn the donuts over on a floured work surface and cover with a cloth; let sit about 30 minutes. They should rise noticeably.

6) Heat the oil to a boil (360 degrees). Place the donuts in the oil, a few at a time, 
and fry until golden brown and crispy on both sides.

7) Let the oil drain off the donuts through a sieve.
Dust immediately with sugar or powdered sugar.
Tip: These taste great with a rum glaze—stir together 3/4 cup powdered sugar 
with 1 or 2 tablespoons of rum until smooth;
spread over the top of each donut.

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