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My German Kitchen ... in the Rockies: Fastnachtsküchle/ Gefüllte Berliner (Jelly Donuts)

06 March 2011

Fastnachtsküchle/ Gefüllte Berliner (Jelly Donuts)

Did you know that we actually have five seasons in Germany? Yes, it is true. The fifth season is Fastnacht, Fasching or Karneval. These are the wildest days of the year in many German towns.

The Fastnacht season starts on Nov 11 at 11:11 am each year and ends on Ash Wednesday. The last six days are the craziest of the season, since a lot of people dress up in costumes and attend costume balls and street parades. The biggest parades are on Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) and Fastnachtsdienstag (Carnival Tuesday).

Here is a short video of the Rose Monday Parade in Mainz 2010 featuring the "Mainzer Ranzengarde", also called the mother guard, since it is one of the oldest Carnival guard groups (founded in 1837).  This particular guard was formed as the official protector of the King of Carnival (today we have a Prince of Carnival). Take a look at their beautiful costumes.

In my home region of Germany the featured baked good during the exciting Carnival time is the Fastnachtsküchle. It is very similar to American Jelly donuts. Most of the time it is filled with strawberry jam, but I prefer mine with raspberry. My aunt used to bake the very best and usually served them together with soup for lunch or mid afternoon with a nice cup of coffee.

Fastnachtsküchle are best eaten still warm but definitely the same day they are fried. I personally think that they are one of the best goodies out their. I made them for the very first time in my life yesterday afternoon and was so happy that they came out exactly like I remember them tasting at my aunt's house; soft, warm, sugar covered and with the jam oozing out. I would say they are heaven in a bite!

So, if you ever have the chance to visit Germany during the busy Carnival time, go and have lots of fun. In the meantime, I urge you to get a small taste of it while sampling a  Fassnachtskuechle in your own home.

Until soon and to all of you a three time thundering "Helau" from my kitchen to yours. Helau, Helau, Helau!

Makes about 16.


* 1 cup (250 ml) whole milk
* 2 tablespoons (25 g) granulated sugar
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast (2 1/2 teaspoons)
* 2 tablespoons (30 ml) warm water
* 3 1/2 to 3 3/4 cups (420 g- 450 g) all-purpose flour plus additional for dusting
* About 10 cups (2.5 l) vegetable oil
* 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
* 1/2 cup (125 ml) very good raspberry or strawberry jam
* Confectioners or granulated sugar for dusting

Special equipment: 1 (2-inch) and 1 (2 1/2-inch) round cookie cutter; a deep-fat thermometer


Bring milk to a simmer in a 1-quart heavy saucepan, then remove from heat and stir in granulated sugar and salt. Cool milk to lukewarm (about 90°F).

While milk is cooling, dissolve yeast in warm water in a small bowl, stirring until creamy, then let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If yeast doesn't foam, discard and start over with fresh yeast.)

Pour milk mixture into a large bowl and stir in 2 1/2 cups flour, 2 tablespoons oil, eggs, and yeast mixture with a wooden spoon to make a very soft dough. Spread 1 cup flour on work surface and put dough on top, scraping it from bowl with a rubber spatula. Knead dough, incorporating all of flour from work surface and adding just enough additional flour (if necessary) to keep dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer dough to another large bowl and sprinkle lightly with additional flour, then cover bowl with a clean kitchen towel and let dough rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface and roll out with a floured rolling pin until 1/2 inch thick. Cutout rounds with 2-inch cutter. Stretch 1 round to 2 1/2 inches and put 1 teaspoon jam in center, then stretch another round to 2 1/2 inches and use it to cover jam, pinching edges of rounds firmly together. (Pinching will stretch doughnuts to about 3 inches in diameter.) Make more jelly doughnuts in same manner.

Cut through filled doughnuts with floured 21/2-inch cutter, rotating cutter several times to help seal edges. Transfer rounds to a floured kitchen towel, then reroll scraps (only once) and make more jelly doughnuts in same manner. (If dough shrinks after rerolling, let stand 10 minutes.) Cover doughnuts with another kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place 30 minutes.

While doughnuts rise, heat 3 inches oil (about 10 cups) in a deep 4-quart pot until it registers 375°F on thermometer. Fry doughnuts 2 at a time, turning occasionally, until puffed and golden brown, about 2 minutes per batch. (Doughnuts will bob in oil; hold them half submerged with a slotted spoon to brown evenly.) Transfer as cooked to paper towels to drain. Serve warm, dusted with confectioners or roll in granulated sugar.

Adapted from

Eine witzige Büttenrede aus dem Jahre 1966 fur alle meine deutschsprachigen Freunde:

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At March 6, 2011 at 12:40 PM , Blogger Chele said...

I can't beleive this is your first attempt at making them, they are seriously impressive. The carnival sounds like fun, it makes so much sense to have fun food to eat along with everything else.

At March 6, 2011 at 1:18 PM , Blogger JelliDonut said...

Of course I MUST make these. Yummy! Thanks for another great recipe.

At March 6, 2011 at 1:21 PM , Blogger From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

These look so delicious. I would definitely go for the raspberry jam too. Another recipe for my to do list.

At March 6, 2011 at 1:28 PM , Blogger Megan said...

I live in Germany and I'm going to a Fasching parade on Tuesday! Can't wait!

At March 6, 2011 at 1:46 PM , Blogger Susan said...

How well I remember Fasching in Heidelberg. We walked into a bierstube and were quickly swept into the partying mode. It was 1969, I was pregnant and it was a night of dancing. Himmel bimmel!!!

At March 6, 2011 at 2:09 PM , Anonymous Lea Ann said...

Kirsten these look fabulous. You must have been so thrilled to have such a success on your first try. And your kids probably went wild over them. in un-German to ask for mine to be filled with Bavarian Cream? Seems like I had something like this when I was a kid, except it had a cream filling.

At March 6, 2011 at 5:30 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kirsten - how many does this make? They look awesome! Can't believe this is your first try.

At March 6, 2011 at 5:36 PM , Blogger My Kitchen in the Rockies said...

@anonymous: The recipe says 16, but I got 19 smaller ones.

At March 6, 2011 at 6:11 PM , Blogger Susi said...

Helau!!! Ich vermisse Fasching und liebe Krapfen (so sagen es die Franken). Das Rezept wir mitgenommen um es meiner Familie auch mal zu machen. Deine Fastnachtskuechle schauen super lecker aus Kirsten, da kriege ich ja richtig Heimweh!

At March 6, 2011 at 6:15 PM , Blogger Cooking Creation said...

Bravo! These look amazing! Thank you for sharing another recipe for me to bookmark. :)

At March 6, 2011 at 6:36 PM , Blogger Cathy said...

Oh boy, I would be in big trouble if I made doughnuts that looked that good. Love that wonderful raspberry filling. Bavarian cream would be great too.

At March 6, 2011 at 7:57 PM , Blogger Carlos said...

Ich hätte gerne ein Dutzend bitte! I got plenty of coffee.

At March 6, 2011 at 10:27 PM , Blogger kitchen flavours said...

The doughnuts looks so soft and spongy. This is a wonderful treat to have anytime of the year, your fun festival Fastnacht, make it extra special! Thanks for sharing!

At March 7, 2011 at 4:49 AM , Anonymous Sasa said...

Studnets kept bringing krapfen to class and I was like..."Warum?" Until I figured out it's Fasching food! Not that I was complaining about free sweets - not as lovely as your homemade ones though, I'm sure.

At March 7, 2011 at 7:07 AM , Blogger A SPICY PERSPECTIVE said...

What fun! I love learning about different cultural celebrations. The doughnuts look AMAZING!

At March 7, 2011 at 8:01 AM , Anonymous Nuts about food said...

These look absolutely perfect. I have a real weakness for raspberry jam, just like you.

At March 7, 2011 at 9:41 AM , Anonymous Barbara | VinoLuciStyle said...

I am now seriously craving a jelly doughnut...seriously enough that I think my trip to Fedex has to happen now so I can find one somewhere. Would rather have one of yours!

I tweeted this to get you on Twitter girlfriend!

At March 7, 2011 at 9:56 AM , Blogger Hanaâ said...

In Holland they celebrate Karnaval as well. These Jelly Donuts look wonderful. So light! Thanks for including a picture of the inside! :o)

First time here. Will check out the rest of your blog. Feel free to do the same :o)

At March 7, 2011 at 12:08 PM , Anonymous traci said...

My grandmother made fastnacht but she did not put jelly inside. She cut the dough into rectangles and dropped them into the hot oil. The dough would puff up as it cooked.

At March 7, 2011 at 4:55 PM , Blogger Zoe said...

I love your photo of the flowing jelly out of the donut. I'm drooling...

At March 7, 2011 at 8:07 PM , Blogger Sally - My Custard Pie said...

You've got to admire the German language - it's not just the doughnuts that are a mouthful. I've bookmarked this as I've been wanting to make for ages and you've given such clear instructions. Raspberry jam gets my vote too.

At March 8, 2011 at 7:11 AM , Blogger Karen Harris said...

This look fantastic! I had no idea about this celebration in Germany. How fun.

At March 8, 2011 at 8:43 AM , Anonymous Coleen said...

I*loved* the video of the parade. It's so enjoyable when you get a story with a recipe. I get to think of the story every time I make it which is much more fun than stressing over whether it will come out right!

At March 13, 2011 at 8:14 PM , Blogger A Feast for the Eyes said...

Fasching! It was a really big deal with my family, when we lived in Bavaria. I had forgotten all about that. These remind me of Krapfen, that my Tante used to make. I almost made these when I had leftover glazed doughnuts. I wish I had seen this post sooner. I'm with you-- raspberry jam is a MUST! Apricot is my second choice. These are picture perfect.

At May 14, 2011 at 9:55 AM , Anonymous Boulder Locavore said...

I'm leaving now. Will be there in one hour 15 minutes, still in my pajamas but will bring my own coffee. These look delish. (not sure why I only got the email subscription for this post 5 minutes ago when their are already 25 comments!).

At January 11, 2012 at 1:14 PM , Blogger Joanna said...

These donuts looks AMAZING!!!!


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