Today is the last day of Fasching, the German version of Carnival or Mardi Gras. Fasching is a week of splendid masquerade balls, food & drink. Not at all surprising is that this bacchanal leads up to the spiritual deprivation that is Lent, so why not binge like you mean it?
And the food I think about when all bets are off, when I’m staring down the reality of my last sugar and fat laden hurrah before I repent? Donuts. More specifically Krapfen, the official guilty pleasure of the Fasching season. But these are extra special because they are filled to the rim with glorious jam filling! I prefer apricot but it's your kitchen, so choose chocolate filling if you like.
Krapfen happen to be one of my late mother’s favorite confections as well and as her birthday is just a few days away, I’m frying these beauties in her honor.
FOR THE SPONGE
2 teaspoons instant yeast
¾ cup warm milk
Pinch of sugar
6 ounces bread flour
1•Sprinkle the yeast with a pinch of sugar in a bowl and bloom the yeast (blooming is the term for letting the yeast become active and bubbly in a liquid) in the ¾ cup warm milk (not hot, otherwise you’ll kill the yeast). This takes about 3 –5 minutes.
2•In a mixer fit with the dough hook, add yeast and flour and mix until smooth. Cover and allow the sponge to rise and proceed to the dough stage just as the sponge starts to fall.
(Sponge, just about to fall)
FOR THE DOUGH
1 packet of yeast
¼ cup warm milk
2 ounces sugar
½ teaspoon salt
zest of ½ lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 egg yolks
3 ounces butter, very soft
½ pound bread flour
1•Bloom 1 packet of yeast with ¼ cup of warm milk and add to mixing bowl with sponge. While that’s mixing, in a small bowl stir together egg yolks, vanilla, zest and sugar. Add to the sponge mixture. Add butter small pieces at a time and then start to add the flour and mix until you have a smooth dough.
2•Spray the dough with a light coating of non-stick spray and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to rest for one hour.
OTHER INGREDIENTS TO FINISH
vegetable oil (enough to fill a stock pot 4” deep for frying)
Confectioners sugar for dusting the Krapfen
Jam of choice for filling.
TO MAKE KRAPFEN!
1•Divide rested dough in half. Roll each piece into a rope and cut both into ten pieces, rolling each of those ten pieces into a tight round bun, using no flour on your surface to avoid the flour from burning in the hot oil, and allow to rise on a parchment lined sheetpan in a warm place until a little less than doubled in size.
(just rolled, ready to rise)
2•Place a moist dish towel over the buns while they’re resting to avoid them getting a dry skin.
3•In the meantime, in a large stockpot, bring at least 4 inches of vegetable oil to 360° F. When your buns have doubled, add the Krapfen to the oil one at a time, gently placing them in the oil, seam side up (the seam is the “ugly”, puckered underside from your having rolling it ). Allow to brown for about 4 to 5 minutes and then flip the krapfen and cook for about 3 -4 minutes.
(Ugly side up into the oil)
4•Transfer to a cooling rack or paper towel lined sheetpan to allow oil to drain and dry.
5•Fill a pastry bag filled with jam and fitted with a #3 open tip (large enough to allow jam to freely flow but small enough to shove into the side of krapfen without creating a huge hole). Shove the pastry tip into the krapfen and gently fill with your filling.
6•Sift powdered sugar on top of your krapfen and ENJOY!