Jelly Donut Recipe:
Berliner Pfannkuchen or Krapfen

➤ by Oma Gerhild Fulson

Berliner Pfannkuchen or Krapfen ~ German jelly donut

Here's my German jelly donut recipe* to make Berliner Pfannkuchen ~ that traditional treat for New Year's and throughout the year! This one's a rather easy version to make, especially if you have a deep fryer, although just having a deep pot and thermometer will work well.  

Plan to make these the same day you want to eat them. They taste best fresh, actually still warm. Wunderbar!

You'll find that the recipe I'm giving below is actually quite easy. Since I literally just put all the ingredients into my stand mixer which does the kneading for me, it's only a matter of rolling and cutting that takes time.

Using a bread machine on the dough setting to make the dough through the first rising is also an option.

What is a jelly donut called in Germany?

  • These jelly doughnuts go by various names throughout Germany.
  • In Berlin, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, and Brandenburg, they are just called Pfannkuchen, which translates as pancakes. (Pancakes in these areas are called Eierkuchen, literally egg cakes.)
  • In northern and western Germany, they are called Berliner Ballen or just Berliner.
  • In southern and western Germany, including Bavaria, these are called Krapfen, Fastnachtskrapfen or Faschingskrapfen.
  • In Hesse, they are Kräppel or Kreppel.
  • In Palatinate, they are Kreppel or Fastnachtsküchelchen

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*The recipe below is an adaptation from an old Dr. Oetker cookbook, Baking is Fun, Volume 1. However, this time I used my stand mixer with a dough hook to make quick work of kneading the dough.

Once this easy yeast dough is made and has had its first rise, the fun starts! Roll, cut out, fill, stack, and let rise again. Easy breezy.

Making Berliner Pfannkuchen or Krapfen ~ German jelly donut filled with apricot jam

Above, I've filled these with apricot jam, hubby's favorite. Actually, any jam will work great.

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Following the original recipe cooked the donuts too quickly for me, so that they didn't cook all the way through. I lowered the temperature to allow for longer cooking.

When you make these for the first time, cook only one donut first and check that it is properly cooked. That way, you can make adjustments for the rest of the dough.

Deep Frying Berliner Pfannkuchen or Krapfen ~ German jelly donut

Cover the Krapfen with powdered sugar by putting the sugar into a sieve and hold over the donuts. Tap the sieve with a spoon. The powdered sugar will fall like snow!

Berliner Pfannkuchen or Krapfen ~ German jelly donut

Have you ever had these filled with mustard instead of jam? LOL

A strange German practical joke is to secretly fill some Berliner Pfannkuchen with mustard instead of jam and serve them together with regular doughnuts without telling anyone.

This is usually done during the Karneval season.

This was also shown as one of the traditional 'Equator treats' on the popular TV show, Verrückt nach Meer, as the ocean cruise liner crossed the Equator. 

Ready to make these Krapfen?

Jelly Donut Recipe: Berliner Pfannkuchen or Krapfen

Here's my German jelly donut recipe* to make Berliner Pfannkuchen ~ that traditional treat for New Year's and throughout the year! This one's a rather easy version to make, especially if you have a deep fryer, although just having a deep pot and thermometer will work well. 

Servings:

Makes about 14 Berliner Pfannkuchen and about 12 Donut Holes.

Ingredients:

Doughnuts:

  • 3 cups (390 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp (7 g) instant yeast
  • ⅓ cup (67 g) granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp (13 g) vanilla sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 3 tbsp (45 ml) rum or milk
  • 1 tbsp (6 g) lemon zest
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 tbsp (84 g) butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup (240 ml) milk, lukewarm
  • about 1 cup (240 ml) jam or marmalade
  • oil for frying

Topping:

  • ½ cup (63 g) powdered sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp (26 g) vanilla sugar

Instructions:

  1. Mix flour and yeast in a large mixing bowl (of stand mixer, if using).
  2. Add sugars, salt, rum, lemon zest, egg yolks, and melted butter. Slowly start mixing into the flour (use dough hook) and gradually add milk. Continue to mix (knead if by hand) until the dough is soft and elastic. I use the dough hook at a medium speed for about 5 minutes. 
  3. Cover and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).
  4. Deflate by punching the dough. Roll out to ¼" thickness. Using a floured circular cutter or glass (about 3" diameter), cut out 28 circles. Put a bit of jam or marmalade into the center of half the circles.
  5. Brush the edges of the circles with water and place a plain donut over the jam ones. Press the edges together to seal well. Put the donuts onto a well-floured surface and cover. Let rise until double in size, about 30 minutes.
  6. Gently knead any remaining dough and cut out 'donut holes' (I can usually get about 12). Let rise as well.
  7. Heat fat in fryer (or deep pot) to for 360°F to 375°F (182°C to 190°C).
  8. Fry donuts, a few at a time, about 2 - 3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Drain on paper toweling.
  9. Mix the powdered sugar and vanilla sugar and, with a sieve, sprinkle over the donuts.
  10. The donut holes will usually fry in about 1 - 2 minutes per side.

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Unless otherwise noted recipe, images and content © Just like Oma | www.quick-german-recipes.com

* 02.15.2021 revision update

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Berliner Pfannkuchen or Krapfen ~ German jelly donut that's so popular for New Year's.
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Berliner Pfannkuchen or Krapfen ~ German jelly donut with powdered sugar
Deep Frying Berliner Pfannkuchen or Krapfen ~ German jelly donut
Making Berliner Pfannkuchen or Krapfen ~ German jelly donut

Jelly Donut Recipe (Berliner Pfannkuchen) made Just like Oma



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Jelly Donut Recipe (Berliner Pfannkuchen) made Just like Oma


THE German Krapfen or jelly donut recipe you'll need if you plan to make Berliner Pfannkuchen ~ that traditional treat for New Year's and throughout the year!


Ingredients: flour, lemon zest, sugar, butter,

For the full recipe, scroll up ...

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