A good old jelly doughnut. Sprinkled with powdered sugar with a soft sweet dough and red jelly interior. Who knew its origins was so old?
Called a Bismark in Canada, Pfannkuchen (pancake) in Berlin and East Germany, Krapfen in Austria, and Berliner in the rest of Germany, this delicious pastry is, like all donuts, fried dough with sugar and jam. In Germany it is usually available only around the time of New Years or Fasching (or Mardi Gras), the season before Lent. In the old days, the winter was harsh and the season of fasting would soon come, so frying dough in fat ensured more energy for the common people.
The history of the doughnut is already quite old. I’m sure humans can’t resist eating deep fried sweet things! Ancient Egyptians and Romans and Greeks ate them. In the 1600′s there is reference to the Berliner in Austria, where one famous baker in Vienna delivered many of donuts every year at the Faschings carnival. By the 1800′s millions of them were being sold and eaten in Austria. Another reference is to a German soldier-turned-baker in Berlin in the 1700′s, hence the name Berliner. Although various forms of topping existed, including honey and poppy seed, the jam filling did not become popular until it was widely available to the masses (after the second World War).
The bakeries are full of Berliner in Germany right now. So far, the most delicious I have eaten is from Cafe Lieb, pictured above. Absolute yum!