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Recipe: Berliner

This recipe for Berliner is a straightforward guide to making the famous German jam doughnuts. Known in the German capital as Berliner Pfannkuchen, these doughnuts are the perfect sweet treat, enjoyed by many all over the country. A common practical joke on April Fool's Day is to fill them with mustard instead of jam!

Berliner. Photo: capri23auto via Pixabay

Berliner (via AGFG)

Makes 12 doughnuts

Prep time: 2 hours (includes leaving the dough to rise)

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 2h 20 minutes


For the doughnuts:

  • 1 1/2 tsp (6g) dry active or instant yeast

  • 500g plain flour, plus extra for dusting the work surface

  • 4g salt

  • 175ml buttermilk

  • 2 eggs

  • 75g granulated sugar, plus extra for rolling the doughnuts

  • 85g butter at room temperature

  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

For topping and filling:

  • 225g granulated sugar

  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

  • 230g jam in your favourite flavour


  • Place 120ml lukewarm water in the bowl of an electric mixer and sprinkle in the yeast. Stir and set aside to activate for 5 minutes.

  • Add the remaining ingredients to the yeast mixture and combine in the electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment on a very low speed for 1 minute. Stop the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and beat on high speed for 2 minutes.

  • Transfer the dough to a bowl lightly coated with non-stick spray. Choose a bowl large enough to let the dough double in size. Cover bowl loosely with a plastic bag, or plastic film and let rest for 2 hours until dough doubles in volume.

  • While the dough is rising, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small mixing bowl and set aside.

  • Fit a piping bag with a narrow plain decorative tip and fill with jam.

  • When the dough is ready, turn it onto a floured surface and roll down with a rolling pin until it’s 1.5cm to 2cm thick. Cut out 12 rounds with an 8cm round biscuit cutter, or use a knife.

  • Line a baking sheet with a linen napkin and dust it generously with flour. Place the doughnuts on the prepared baking sheet.

  • Fill a large, heavy-bottomed pot with frying oil (such as canola or sunflower) about 7-8cm deep and heat to 180 c.

  • Working in batches, carefully drop the doughnuts one by one into the hot oil. Fry until golden brown, then flip them over and fry the other side - about 4 minutes total.

  • As the doughnuts are cooked, remove them from the oil with a slotted spoon and place them on a plate lined with paper towels. Continue the process until all the doughnuts are fried.

  • Let them sit until they’re cool enough to handle.

  • While the doughnuts are warmish, gently toss them in the prepared cinnamon sugar.

  • Then, use the handle of a wooden spoon to poke a hole three-quarters of the way into the doughnut. Gently move it around to create a nice-size cavity for the jam. Insert the tip of the piping bag filled with jam into the doughnut and fill until it feels heavy.

  • Repeat with the rest of the doughnuts.


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