Serbian doughnuts, also known as krofne, are delicious treats that can be eaten at any time of year but especially before the Great Lent begins. Orthodox Christians observe Cheesefare Sunday (the last day dairy products can be eaten) two days prior to Shrove Tuesday, so krofne, palacinke and other fried and rich foods would be eaten then.
What is the origin of doughnuts?
A doughnut or donut (the latter spelling is often seen in American English) is a type of fried dough confectionery or dessert food. The doughnut is popular in many countries and is prepared in various forms as a sweet snack that can be homemade or purchased in bakeries, supermarkets, food stalls, and franchised specialty vendors.
The earliest origins to the modern doughnuts are generally traced back to the olykoek (“oil(y) cake”) that Dutch settlers brought with them to early New York (or New Amsterdam). These doughnuts closely resembled later ones but did not yet have their current ring shape. One of the earliest mentions of “doughnut” was in Washington Irving‘s 1809 book.
Krofne (Albanian: Krafne, Bosnian: Krofne, Croatian: Krafne, Slovene: krofi, Serbian: крофне, Macedonian: Крофни) are airy filled doughnuts. They are round and usually filled with jelly, marmalade, jam or chocolate. They can also be filled with custard, or cream, but that is usually less common.
The name comes from German Krapfen, and it is a variation of the Central European pastry, known as Berliner. They are also similar to beignets. The recipe for homemade krofne includes yeast, milk, sugar, flour, salt, butter, eggs, rum, lemon peel, marmalade and icing sugar.
As a good-luck token as well as for prosperity, they are served on New Year’s Day. On other holidays such as Easter, Christmas and Thanksgiving these desserts are also served.
What are Krofne?
Krofne are round Croatian doughnuts of sorts, and a must try food of the Balkans. Krofne are round like doughnuts as you know them, but without a hole in the middle as you might find with American or Australian style doughnuts.
These Croatian doughnuts are light and airy and are traditionally filled with jams, but they can also be filled with chocolate or vanilla custard. In some parts of Croatia like in Slavonia, they don’t fill the krofne, but instead they place a dollop of jam on the top of every doughnut.
Croatia has held a doughnut tradition for a very long time. When the winter comes, usually mothers and grandmas make these delicious desserts to serve after Sunday lunch. Depending on which part of Croatia you are from you can also see them being spelled as “krafne”.
What is the origin of krofne (or krafne)?
This is traditional carnival pastry in Croatia. The origin is of course Austrian. The name “krafne” comes from Mrs. Cecilia Krapf a.k.a. Cilly who worked for the Emperor in his Court as a pastry cook.
The story is that she uncovered the recipe to the street pastry makers so the cake spread all over the Empire (and that is how we got it). The best krafne to buy in Croatia is in a town called Samobor in the vicinity of Zagreb. The ladies who work there have a secret recipe.
What are the different versions of doughnuts?
In the Czech Republic, koblihy or vdolky (without a hole) are usually filled with jam and dusted with sugar. Vdolky are not as high as koblihy. Bavorský vdolek or Bavorský koblih (“Bavarian doughnut”) may be fried or baked and have jam and thick sour cream on top.
In Denmark, the Berliner without a hole is available in bakeries across the country and is called Berliner like in Germany. Another variant without the filling is aebleskiver, normally eaten with powdered sugar and jam on the side.
Then there are the ever popular beignets that originated in France and are sometimes described as French doughnuts. They are also popular in New Orleans, Louisiana. While Ecuador boasts the huevitos chilenos (“Chilean Eggs”), a small variety of round doughnut (without a hole), sold year-round on street corners around the country.
The original Chilean Eggs are slightly different, and are called sopaipillas in Chile and other South-American countries. In Mexico, buñuelo, churro, sopaipilla, the Mexican donas are very similar to doughnuts including in the name.
The dona is a fried-dough pastry-based snack, commonly coated with cinnamon sugar or granulated sugar, or dipped in chocolate. A pelona, alike Berliner, is a pastry similar to local doughnut with no central hole made from sweet yeast dough (Danish dough) deep-fried usually in oil, filled with vanilla dulce de leche and few raisins, conventional sugar as topping. However you decide to eat your krofne, filled with a jam or served with powdered sugar, it is sure to be a treat for any sweet tooth person.
- 4 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons caster sugar
- 1 cup warm milk (more or less)
- 1 egg
- 2 egg yolks
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons rum (or Cognac)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Zest of one lemon
- Vegetable oil (for frying)
- Sugar (or icing sugar)
In a large bowl, combine the yeast and 1 teaspoon caster sugar in ½ cup (150 ml) warm milk.
- Let it foam for 15 minutes.
- In another large bowl, whisk the egg, egg yolks, remaining caster sugar, oil, rum and vanilla sugar until fluffy.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the flour.
- Dig a well in the center of the flour and pour in the yeast mixture and the second beaten egg mixture.
- Add the lemon zest.
- Using the dough hook, start kneading the dough at low speed.
- Gradually add the rest of the warm milk. Depending on the flour, it will need more or less milk.
- Knead for 1 minute and finally add the salt.
- Increase the speed of the stand mixer and knead at medium to high speed for 5 minutes.
- At this stage, the dough should be sticky but compact and must come off the edges of the bowl.
- Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and continue kneading by hand while rolling the dough.
- If necessary, add a little flour to obtain a smooth, non-sticky dough.
- Cover the dough with a cloth and let it rise for one hour at room temperature and away from drafts.
Cut out 18 x 4-inch (10 cm) circles of parchment paper.
- When the dough has risen, transfer it to a floured work surface and knead it briefly.
Spread the dough to a thickness of about ½ inch (1,25 cm).
Cut 2-inch (5 cm) circles with a cookie cutter and place the circles, spaced, each on a circle of floured parchment paper.
- Assemble the rest of the dough and form new donuts until all the dough is used.
- Let the donuts rise for 15 minutes at room temperature and away from drafts.
Add about 6 cups of oil into a medium-sized deep frying pan and heat to a temperature of 350 F (170 C).
Using the parchment paper, slide each circle of dough into the hot oil and fry the donuts on both sides while maintaining the oil at a temperature of 350 F (170 C) until they are golden brown.
- Place the fried donuts on paper towels.
Generously sprinkle caster sugar (or icing sugar) onto the donuts.
The donuts can be served nature or filled. In addition to jam, the donuts can be garnished with vanilla custard or chocolate spread.
They can also be covered with chocolate icing as well as sprinkles.
There are two ways to fill the donuts. By cutting them in half or by using a syringe to inject the filling.