with Viennese jelly doughnut recipe
IN recent years champagne-creme-filled and gold-leaf-topped donuts and sufganiyot have been en vogue. Try these wonderfully homey jelly doughnuts for a change. Though you don’t have to use jelly, apricot jam is the most classic filling in Vienna, as strawberry jam is in Israel. Use any filling you prefer, like vanilla cream, Nutella,1 or even marzipan. Today I’m making some classic Viennese jelly doughnuts with Uri Scheft of New York’s Breads Bakery and of Tel Aviv’s Lehamim Bakery.
Krapfen are Viennese doughnuts, delicious little pastries filled with apricot jam. They’re available all year round in Vienna, but traditionally they are carnival fair. Their reach extends far outside of Austria. Marie Antoinette introduced these Austro-Hungarian jelly doughnuts to the French court.2 They have been adopted in contemporary Israel, where they’re called sufganiyot (singular sufganiyah). They’re eaten on Hanukkah because they are fried in oil.3 Good food tends to travel.
Among the many new cookbooks in autumn 2016, there were three that catered to bakers and anyone with a sweet tooth like mine. There were Dorie Greenspan’s striking, colorful colorful photographs in Dorie’s Cookies, Mark Bittman’s major installment on How to Bake Everything, and then there was the fashionable, magazine-style Breaking Breads – The New World of Israeli Baking by Uri Scheft. The latter features a classic Israeli version of the jelly doughnut.
Competition for the most imaginative and unheard-of fillings and toppings for jelly doughnuts is growing tougher every year, especially in Israel around Hanukkah. This craze has even reached the shores – or more precisely, the Danube banks – of the resolutely conservative Austrian pastry shops and bakeries. Yes, over the last couple of years Viennese customers have been presented with a few very unorthodox jelly doughnuts. Though that’s nothing compared to what you can find in Tel Aviv.
Uri Scheft’s pages on jelly doughnuts are an exception to this tendency. Elsewhere we’ve seen everything from of alcohol-creme fillings to salty caramel ones, and a host of vegan, gluten-free and lactose-free versions. But this year even the Israeli newspaper Haaretz voices concerns and calls for a more traditional approach. Returning to the classic jelly doughnut, despite its simple and unassuming ways, might transport you right back to sweet childhood pleasures.
So, my family wanted to give Uri Scheft’s recipe a try for one of our annual Hanukkah batches of homemade pontchikes, the Poilish-Yiddish version of jelly doughnuts.4 I’ve made a few little changes to streamline the efficiency of the recipe even further. And, in order to make these sufganiyot into authentic Viennese Krapfen, we’ll use a customary Austrian rum instead of brandy, lemon instead of orange, apricot jelly as the filling and nothing on top but a dusting of confectioners’ sugar.
Yes, in reality, the difference between all these jelly doughnuts, whether they’re called bomboloni, Berliners, Krapfen, pontchikes or suffganiyot, comes down to only slight variations in size, but often major changes to the filling and the topping. Well, and, as you would expect, Italian bomboloni are made with olive oil5 and some Central- and Eastern-Europeans are frying theirs in schmaltz or lard.
Still, these jelly doughnuts, though of different geographical origins, are nonetheless so similar that you could simply take any regular jelly doughnut and call it bombolone, Krapfen, Fank (in Hungarian) or whatever you like! So why even bother making these Viennese jelly doughnuts at home? Just buy one and call it Krapfen and be done with it! In fact, the case for
In fact, the case for homemade jelly doughnuts is easily made. Simply put, they will taste better, not least because of the effort it took you to make them. And at home, you don’t have to skimp on the filling. Fill it so you’ll get a bit of apricot jam with every bite. Lastly, and most importantly, if you have children, you should let them cut out the doughnuts. Let them make one of those memories, you yourself got from your own childhood – or wish you would have. And while you’re at it, why not try it the Viennese way, once?
And finally, before you start preparing the ingredients for the recipe, enjoy this picture of a jelly doughnut photographed at the Viennese Espresso-Café-Konditorei Aida by photographer Martin Parr. (It appears in Martin Parr’s 2016 book on Vienna, “Cakes & Balls“.)
Recipe: Viennese Jelly Doughnuts (Krapfen)
500g (approx. 4 cups) sifted all-purpose flour (typ 700 in Austria) plus some extra flour for kneading and rolling
12g (3 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
150g (1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp) warm whole milk, 100-110°F (~40°C)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
15g (1 Tbsp) rum (for an authenticate taste use an Inländer rum like Stroh)
2 US/Canada large (Europe medium) egg yolks (at room temperature)
1 US/Canada large (Europe medium) egg (at room temperature)
65g (1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp) granulated sugar
generous pinch grated lemon zest
30g (2 Tbsp) fresh lemon juice
2.5g (1/2 tsp) iodine-free6 table salt
90g (6 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
2 l (9 cups) canola oil for deep-frying (or more, as needed)
600 g (2 cups) very good apricot jam
2 tsp Ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) or juice of 1 lemon
confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- Make the dough: In the bowl of a standmixer stir together the warm milk and the yeast. Mix on low speed with a dough hook while adding the rest of the liquid ingredients except the lemon juice. Now add the sugar, the lemon juice, the lemon zest, and the salt. Add the flour and continue to knead on low speed until everything is well combined, about 5 minutes.
- Turn the mixer to medium speed and gradually add the butter. Continue to mix until after the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. The dough is ready when it looks smooth, shiny and is not sticky anmore, approximately 10 minutes later. It will climb up the dough hook.
- Let the dough rise: Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and stretch and fold it over itself a couple of times for a minute. Put the dough into a lightly floured bowl, cover with a towel or plate and let rise in a warm spot like the oven set to 100-110°F (~40°C) for 1 hour, or until the dough has doubled in volume.
- Roll and cut out the dough: Place the dough back on a well-floured surface and roll it out until it is 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) thick. With a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter (or a glass) cut rounds as close as you can to minimize the scraps. Place the dough rounds on a parchment paper lined tray or baking sheet as you go. Press the scraps together and let them rest, covered, for 15 minutes. Then roll them out to cut more doughnuts. You can discard or fry the remaining dough pieces as they are.
- Proof the dough rounds: Cover the dough rounds with a warm kitchen towel and let them rise in a warm spot like the oven set to 100-110°F (~40°C) until they have doubled in size and spring back when touched, about 25 minutes. (At this point the dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 hours.)
- Fry the dough rounds: Fill no more than half of a heavy-bottomed pot (cast-iron is ideal) at least 4 inch (10 cm) deep with oil. Over medium heat, gradually bring the oil to 340°F (170°C). If you do not have a sugar or frying thermometer, use an instant-read thermometer to check the temperature. Fry covered on the first side for about 1 minute or until golden brown. Turn the pieces of dough over and fry uncovered for another minute or until golden brown. Take care not to overcrowd the pot, as this causes the oil to cool down excessively, which will let the doughnuts absorb oil and make them greasy. Transfer the doughnuts to a rack to drain.
- Fill the doughnuts with jelly: In a food processor mix the jam and gradually add the ascorbic acid (or the lemon juice) until smooth and its taste is to your liking. If you like it now, you will like it in the doughnut! Fill the jam into either a piping bag fitted with a round tip and insert the tip into the top of the doughnut, or use a syringe and fill from one side of the doughnut. Squeeze as much jam as you can into the doughnut until it starts to ooze out of the hole. Alternatively, you can simply spoon some jam on the top of each doughnut.
Serve: Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar right before serving. These Vienna-style Krapfen jelly doughnuts are fantastic when still slightly warm!
- A must-read are the entries on doughnut and sufganiyah in the “Encyclopedia of Jewish Food” by Gil Marks.
- Our go-to standard and all-time favorite recipe for Krapfen is featured in Neue Cuisine – The Elegant Tastes of Vienna. Recipes from Wallsé, Café Sabarsky and Blaue Gans by Kurt Gutenbrunner, on pape 169.
- In German, on the history of jelly doughnuts: “Das große Sacher Kochbuch,” by Hans Maier-Bruck.
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- Better try to go with some quality Pasta Gianduja instead of this industrial ersatz.
- Claudia Roden in The Book of Jewish Food, p. 197.
- According to Wikipedia “The Hebrew word sufganiyah and Arabic word sfenj derive from the words for sponge (sfog, Hebrew: ספוג; isfanj, Arabic: إسْفَنْج).”
- Also spelled ponchikes or ponchkes. In Yiddish in some places the word Krapfen is used too.
- See for example the recipe for bomboloni ripieni in Edda Servi-Machlin’s The Classic Dolci of the Italian Jews, p.50.
- Iodine produces a bitter and metallic taste.