Hard to believe an entire summer, autumn and half a winter went by since my last post flew out into that thing called blogosphere. But here I am, sitting in my rocking chair, a wintery garden with a half melted snowman at my feet, thinking of a way to take up the thread again.
Maybe it helped if I told you it´s been a time of goodbyes – to friends who left Paris last summer, to Paris `herself` whom we left last fall. Back in Germany, in our home town of Munich, it took us a little while to acclimatize ourselves and embellish our beloved house, meet old friends and already find some new ones. So it´s also been a time of hellos and hello agains. Before I knew, the year ended, last gifts were unwrapped, the Christmas tree went out of the window, and one blink later we were entering what is referred to as ´the fifth season` here in Germany: carnival, Fasching, Faasenacht. Already my son and daughter were making plans for their costumes, leaving me deeply pinterested in finding doable ways of transforming them into a dinosaur and the unevitable unicorn.
Thinking of the season foodwise, at least as inevitable and undoubtedly my preference, I realized we all hadn´t had Faschingskrapfen for much too long. Carnival isn´t a big thing in Paris, yet these sugar dusted German doughnuts are what I´ve always loved best about it – and missed while in France. Here in Germany, every bakery sells Krapfen at least during late january and the first half of february, surpassing each other when it comes to inventing new over the top varieties. Imagine: tiramisu and eggnog filling with a blue curacao glaze and a swirl of pink buttercream on top. And I´m only slightly exaggerating.
Compared to those dolled up fellows, the ones I make at home are quite humble, both in stature and appearance, smaller in size and coming with nothing but a a dollop of jam inside (rosehip would be classic, but I prefer raspberry). Sometimes there might even be no filling at all, courtesy of the Krapfen purists chez mamangerie who insist on having them plain. Either way they´re delicious. A pillowy snowball of fried yeast dough, perhaps still a bit warm, count among the few delights unquestioned by … anybody, I guess, not even by carnival grouches like me.
Krapfen, makes 10-12 :
200 g AP flour (190 g when using small eggs)
4 g dry yeast (1 tsp)
1 large egg & 1 egg yolk
50 g butter
50 g fine sugar
1 good pinch (1/4 tsp) of fine sea salt
60 ml milk
10 ml Grand Marnier or dark rum
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest from 1 organic orange
vegetable oil for deep frying
raspberry jam, approx. 1 tsp per Krapfen
In a large bowl, mix flour with yeast, salt and sugar. Add egg , egg yolk, orange zest and vanilla extract. Gently warm milk, Grand Marnier or rum, and cubed butter until butter has melted. When no more than lukewarm, add milk mixture to the flour. Knead until the dough forms a ball, around 10-15 minutes, perhaps adding a little extra flour (depending on the size of the eggs).
Cover dough with a clean towel and leave to stand until volume has doubled, about 1.5 hours. I like to place the bowl into my oven preheated to 40°C, then switched off.
Take bowl out of the oven, knead the dough briefly. On a floured working surface, shape dough into a ball and, using a floured knife, divide dough into quarters, cut each quarter into three smaller parts, so you obtain 12 parts of equal size. Shape each one into a small ball. Place doughnuts on a large floured chopping board, rim side down, about 5 cm/2 in apart from one another (they will about double in size and must not touch each other). Cover again with a cloth, leave to prove for 1.5 hours.
In a large high sided pan with a lid, heat about 5 cm/2 in of frying oil to 160°C /80°F. If you don´t have a thermometer: when placing the handle of a wooden spoon, there should be bubbles appearing all around the handle within a few seconds. Alternatively, throw in a small piece of dough – it should brown within a few seconds.
Fry your Krapfen in batches. Using a palette knife or something similar, gently lift doughnut from the board and place into the sizzling oil, flat side down. Close the lid for about 1 min, then flip over with the handles of 2 wooden spoons, cover and continue to fry for 30 sec to one minute, until golden, but not too dark. Perhaps you´ll have to reduce the heat a little during the frying process. Once golden, remove Krapfen from the fat and drain on paper towels placed on a wire rack.
Once cooled, add 1 tsp of jam per Krapfen with the help of a piping bag fitted with a long, narrow nozzle. Insert nozzle from the side, ideally where there should be a brighter rim in between the darker parts.
Generously dust with confectioner´s sugar from both sides. Eat the same day.