Pa Dutch recipes for Doughnuts, Fritters, Crullers and more

Amish Donut RecipesDieters beware, sweet teeth rejoice.  Doughnuts are a staple treat made by Amish both for their own enjoyment, and to sell in bakeries and at community events (such as auctions).  This simple treat comes in the classic and creme-filled versions, both delicious.  Other relatives in the doughnut family, like fried fruit fritters and powdered sugar crullers, are delicious in their own right.  You can try making your own doughnuts and other fried treats using the Amish and Pennsylvania German recipes below.

Doughnut, Fritter & Cruller Recipes

 

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DOUGHNUTS

  • 4 cups water
  • 3 tbsp. yeast
  • 3 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. salt
  • 1 stick oleo
  • 12 cups flour

(adapted from R&E Sales, Monroe, IN)

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POTATO DOUGHNUTS

  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed potatoes
  • ½ cup sweet milk
  • 2½ cups flour
  • 1½ tblsp. shortening
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ⅛ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 tblsp. baking powder

Beat mashed potatoes, add melted shortening, beaten eggs and milk. Sift dry ingredients together and add to the liquid. Dough should be soft yet firm enough to roll. Separate dough into 2 parts and roll each out to thickness of ¾ inch. Cut with doughnut cutter.  Cook in deep fat at 365 degrees, and fry to a golden brown. Drain on absorbent paper. Dust with powdered sugar or a sugar and cinnamon mixture.

Amish Doughnuts

Making and selling doughnuts at an Amish bakery stand. Reading Terminal Market, Philadelphia

RAISED DOUGHNUTS (Fasnacht)

The fasnacht is a greater Pennsylvania German cultural treat, rather than an Amish one.  Fasnachts are traditionally served on Shrove Tuesday (the day before the Lenten season begins).   At that time of year you will see these available for purchase throughout the Pennsylvania Dutch region.

To make the Sponge:

  • 1 cake yeast
  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 4 scant cups sifted flour

At night break and soak yeast in lukewarm water for 20 minutes. Mix with flour, creating a thick batter. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place overnight until it has doubled in size.

To make the Dough:

  • ½ cup shortening
  • ⅜ cup sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 5 cups or more of flour

In the morning cream together the shortening, sugar and salt. Add this to the risen sponge, along with the beaten eggs and spice. Stir in as much flour as the mixture will readily take.  This should create a rather soft dough. Mix well. Let rise until dough has doubled in bulk. If desired, stir down and let rise again until nearly doubled. Turn onto a floured board.  Pat or roll the dough to a thickness of ⅓ inch.  Cut the dough with a doughnut cutter. Cover to prevent drying.  Allow to rise until doubled in size. Fry at around 375 degrees F in deep hot fat.

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CRULLERS

  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup cream, sweet or sour
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3½ to 4 cups flour

Beat the eggs, add cream and milk. Sift dry ingredients and combine with liquid.  Use enough flour to produce a dough that can be rolled, while remaining soft. Mix well and allow to stand for 2 hours. Turn out on a floured board.  Roll to a thickness of ¼ inch. Cut into strips measuring 6″ × 1″. Fry at 360 degrees in deep fat until the cruller becomes brown on both sides. Drain crullers on absorbent paper.  You can then dust them with powdered sugar to your preference.

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PEACH FRITTERS

Fruit fritters are popular batter-dipped and fried treats which can be made from a variety of fruits.  

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or canned chopped peaches
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • ⅓ cup butter
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ tsp. lemon juice
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • whipped cream

Cream the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs in and beat thoroughly. Sift dry ingredients together while slowly adding the milk. Fold in vanilla, peaches, and lemon juice. Drop by teaspoonfuls into hot fat. Fry peach fritters to a golden brown. Sprinkle peach fritters with powdered sugar or serve with whipped cream.

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SOUR CHERRY FRITTERS

  • 1 cup pitted sour cherries
  • 1 cup flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tblsp. sugar
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 3 tblsp. water

Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Combine the beaten egg yolks with water and mix until smooth. Fold in the stiffly-beaten egg whites.  Add the cherries. Drop by spoonfuls into hot fat and cook for 2-5 min at at 360 degrees (until browned). Drain sour cherry fritters on absorbent paper.  Serve sour cherry fritters with fruit sauce or powdered sugar.

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APPLE RING FRITTERS

  • 4 large apples
  • 1 cup sifted flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup milk
  • 1 egg

Sift dry ingredients. Add milk and egg. Beat well. Peel and core apples.  Slice apples in rings about ¼ inch thick. Dip rings into  batter and drop into a pan containing ½ inch worth of hot melted shortening. Fry fritters until golden brown on both sides. Drain on paper towel. Mix sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle over apple ring fritters.

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FUNNEL CAKES

Funnel cakes are favorite treats at county fairs and sporting events.  You can make your own funnel cakes right at home using this simple recipe.

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 3 to 4 cups flour
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsps. baking powder

Beat eggs and add sugar and milk. Sift half the flour, salt and baking powder together.  Add to egg and milk mixture. Beat the batter smooth.  Add only as much more flour as needed–batter should be thin enough to run through a funnel. Drop from funnel into deep, hot fat (temperature of around 375 degrees). You can create spirals and all sorts of intricate shapes by criss-crossing and swirling while controlling the funnel spout using your finger. Serve hot with jam, jelly, molasses, or sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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TANGLE BRITCHES

Tangle Britches are a doughy fried “tangled” treat.  This classic recipe has York County, PA origins.

  • ½ lb. butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • about 5 cups flour

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, beating well. Sift in the cinnamon and enough flour to form a stiff dough. Roll out the dough very thin on a floured board to a thickness of about ⅛ inch. Cut dough into rectangular pieces measuring 3 x 5 inches. Make 5 cuts lengthwise in the dough ½ inch apart and 4½ inches long, so that the rectangle remains in one piece.

Fry for 2 min in hot deep fat (about 360 degrees), or until the tangle britches bob up to the top of the hot grease. When dropping them into the fryer, pick up the 1st, 3rd and 5th strips and pull them upward. Let the 2nd, 4th and 6th sag downward so that in frying they get all fahuudelt (tangled) or “all through each other”. Use powdered sugar to dust, or dribble molasses over them.  Serve and eat hot.

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Glazed donut: thstrain/flickr; Amish making donuts: katber/flickr
Unless otherwise noted, recipes adapted from Pennsylvania Dutch Cooking.

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