Berliners, or jelly doughnuts, are like American jelly-filled donuts but are a little less sweet. They’re traditionally filled with raspberry jam and originate in—where else?—Germany. Delicious hot straight from the fryer.
According to Daniel Leader, just about every bakery in Germany offers Berliners (which, if my recent trip to Baden-Baden is any indication, he’s absolutely right about). Berliners are almost identical to American jelly doughnuts, but they call for a leaner and less sweet dough. He finds them to have a cleaner taste as a result. Daniel suggests when you make these Berliner doughnuts that you use either homemade preserves or the best-quality local jam you can find. He also suggests puréeing your jam in a food processor if it’s super chunky so it’ll easily pass through the tip of a pastry bag and into the doughnut.–David Leite
Do I HAVE To Use Raspberry Jam?
Raspberry jam may be the most expected filling for these fried little lovelies. But we gotta say, we’re sorta eager to try them with our knee-wobblingly sweet-tart rhubarb jam. Or our seasonally summery apricot jam. Heck, maybe even our puckery blood orange marmalade. Really, the only requisite you need to deem a particular preserve fit for these Berliners is if you want that jelly in your belly.
Berliners | Jelly Doughnuts
- Quick Glance
- 1 H
- 3 H
- About 16 doughnuts
Special Equipment: candy or deep-fry thermometer, pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar, plus more for coating
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
- 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or kosher salt
- 1 cup room-temperature milk (70°F to 78°F/20°C to 26°C)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 1/2 oz), at room temperature, beaten
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest, preferably organic
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Vegetable oil, for the bowl, the baking sheet, and for frying
- 6 tablespoons raspberry jam
- 1. Dump the flour, sugar, yeast, salt, milk, butter, eggs, egg yolks, lemon zest, and vanilla in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (The hook isn’t needed here since this is a rather loose batter.) Mix on low speed until smooth, 8 to 10 minutes. It may be necessary to add a touch more flour to form a smooth dough.
- 2. Turn the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let stand at room temperature until double in size, about 1 hour.
- 3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper and lightly brush the paper with oil. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured countertop and divide it into 16 equal pieces. (Resist the temptation to make larger doughnuts as they’ll be tricky to fry properly until the inside gets cooked thoroughly before the outside is overdone.) Shape each piece into a round and then flatten it slightly between the palms of your hands. Place each round, seam side down, on the oiled paper. Let stand uncovered at room temperature until double in size about 1 hour.
- 4. Pour enough oil into a deep pot to reach a depth of 3 inches. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer to the side of the pot and heat the oil over medium heat until it registers 350°F (177°C). Line a large platter or baking sheet with several layers of paper towels. Dump some more sugar for coating the doughnuts on a plate or in a large brown paper bag.
- 5. Place a few of the doughnuts in the hot oil, being careful not to crowd them. Fry until golden brown on one side, about 1 minute. Turn and continue to fry until the other side is golden, 1 to 2 minutes. (Don’t worry if there’s a line of light-colored dough around the perimeter of each Berliner. This is the “soft spot” where you’ll insert the tip of a pastry bag to pipe in some jam.) Drain the cooked Berliners on the paper towels, roll them in the sugar while still hot, and repeat with the remaining dough, keeping an eye on the thermometer to make sure the oil stays at a steady 350°F (177°C), adjusting the heat as necessary.
- 6. To fill the still-hot Berliners, place the jam in a bowl and stir it thoroughly so that there are no lumps. (If it’s particularly chunky, you may want to purée it in a food processor.) Scrape it into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip. Insert the tip into the soft spot of each Berliner and squeeze about 1 teaspoon jam into the center of each doughnut. Serve immediately. (As if you could resist!)