We spent a few days in Cologne this past weekend for the German celebration of Karneval. Wow! What a crazy experience. When I was very young we lived in Mainz, where they call the festival Fasching, and I remember streamers and candy and a parade with big floats. As an adult, the experience was much more a party, with loud music, and crazy costumes, and lots of drinking everywhere we went. These photos from the Rose Monday parade capture just a little bit of the wild enthusiasm that takes over the city during the festivities.
Back at home in Berlin, I was inspired to make a batch of pfannkuchen, the jelly doughnuts eaten during Karneval before the Lent season begins. The treats line bakery windows by the hundreds, but we had a delicious one at the small shop Bäckerei Balkhausen, tucked around the corner from Cologne’s Neumarkt. We were also able to squeeze in a great burger at Freddy Schilling, but most of our 3-day trip was taken up with the Karneval festivities. Hopefully we’ll find ourselves back in Cologne soon to explore the city and the many great recommendations we came armed with!
Servings: 16 doughnuts
2½ teaspoons active dry yeast
½ cup warm water
½ cup warm milk
75 grams butter, softened
⅓ cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons jelly or jam
In a small bowl, combine the yeast and warm water. In a separate, larger bowl, combine the milk, butter, sugar, egg yolks, salt, and flour. Add in the yeast and mix until smooth. Transfer dough to a greased bowl and turn over once to grease both sides. Cover and let rise for 45 minutes, until doubled.
When dough has doubled in size, turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead several times. Divide in half, and cover one piece. Roll out the first portion to ¼ thickness and cut with a floured 2½-inch round cutter. Repeat with the remaining dough. Place circles on a lightly floured sheet pan, cover, and let rise for 45 minutes.
When dough has doubled in size, heat oil in a large frying pan or fryer to 195°C. Fry doughnuts, a few at a time, cooking 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain on paper towels, then roll warm doughnuts in vanilla sugar.
Let doughnuts cool slightly, then fit a pastry bag with a small round tip and fill with jelly. Carefully insert the tip into the bottom of each doughnut and pipe a small amount of jelly into the doughnuts.