According to a legend which is very popular in Austria, there was the cook Cäcilia Krapf – because she was unhappy in love, she accidentally threw a dough prepared for baking in the heated fat on a pan. So a new kind of pastry was created and was called after her – Krapfen. It is made from sweet yeast dough, fried in fat and looks like a doughnut without a hole.
Anyway, historians say that a pastry called “krapfo” had existed even in the 9th century and in Vienna, there already are some written references from 1486 about „Krapfenbackerinnen“ – female bakers specialized in that pastry. Either way, the pastry has become very popular – can you imagine, during the Congress of Vienna in 1815 more than 10 million of Krapfen were consumed!
Even today, we cannot imagine the Carnival season (Fasching) without them. And it does not matter at all that experts cannot come to an agreement which way of preparation is right – whether the two halves should be stuck together and filled with marmalade (usually of apricot, but also vanilla custard or nougat can be used) or they should be fried in one piece first and after that the filling injected with a syringe? With the second method a small hole remains and if you take a bite on the wrong side, the filling will squirt on your clothes. 🙂
Actually, it was monks who put krapfen on the list of typical food during the Carnival season. People needed to eat properly before the Lent started on Ash Wednesday so they prepared caloric dishes, among them also krapfen – one piece has 250 – 300 calories! If this information does not discourage you and you keep reading, then there is also a good piece of news: there are so many balls during the Carnival season that you can burn those calories immediately by dancing. 🙂
In Austria, the word “Krapfen” is used for other desserts as well: Punschkrapfen are punch cubes made from sponge dough, filled with a mixture of marmalade, rum and chocolate and covered with pinky icing. They are a symbolical satiric image of an obscurant Austrian: pink outside, brown inside and always a little bit drunk…
There are also Indianerkrapfen – round small cakes with marmalade and whipped cream filling and chocolate coating. They have a totally different story which dates at the beginning of the 19th century. Ferdinand Pálffy, a Viennese nobleman, who was managing the Theater an der Wien, decided to amaze the Viennese audience with a show of the Indian magician Kutom Mulchia, who was very popular in all of Europe. The count had ordered his Hungarian pastry-cook to create a new dessert which he named in tribute to the invited performer, but actually wrongly – the same way as Columbus did when he discovered America.
I remember we have always been given krapfen with strawberry foam at our school carnival but I just do not know anymore if I longed more for the pastry or the foam…
And here you have the recipe if you want to try this caloric temptation:
Krapfen with strawberry foam
We need for krapfen:
0,5 kg all-purpose flour
200 ml lukewarm milk
1 cube yeast
40 g sugar
1 pinch salt
Put the yeast and sugar in the warm milk and let stand until foamy. Add flour, salt and yolk, mix together until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough into a greased bowl and cover. Set in a warm place for 1 hour to rise. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and gently roll out. Cut circles and let them to rise again for 15 minutes. Heat fat and fry them on each side until golden brown. A light line should remain around.
We need for strawberry foam:
250 g strawberries
1 egg white
60 g powdered sugar
Wash strawberries and wipe them properly. Squash them with a mixer. Whisk the egg white with sugar with an electric beater and gently add the strawberry mixture.
Text: © Copyright Ingrid, Travelpotpourri
Fotos: © Copyright Ingrid, Travelpotpourri