During the iron curtain years, when Germany was divided into two states, these crullers were made by many bakeries in what was then West Germany. Most people ate Eberswalder Spritzkuchen for decades with no idea that this pastry originated in an isolated German town at the eastern end of the German Democratic Republic close to the Polish border. As in the Rhineland, the celebration of carnival (also known as the crazy days before Lent) in Eberswalde is at the origin of this pastry. Before the invention of food additives, the beginning of Lent meant that all animal fat had to be used up, or it would go bad. This is why pastries like Eberswalder Spritzkuchen were invented.
For the crullers:
- 3-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 5 eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Vegetable oil (corn or peanut) for deep-frying
For the frosting:
- 1-1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
- Juice of 1 to 2 lemons
Recipe courtesy of Nadia Hassani, from "Spoonfuls of Germany"
For the crullers:
Bring 1 1/4cups water and the butter to a boil in a saucepan. Remove from the heat. Mix the flour and the cornstarch together and stir into the liquid until to a smooth ball forms. Return the pan to the stove and stir over low heat until a white film appears on the bottom of the pan.
Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Combine with the sugar, vanilla, eggs, and baking powder, using an electric mixer.
Cut parchment paper into 3-inch squares. Spread them out on a clean work surface and grease them well. Put the dough into a pastry bag with a large serrated spout and squeeze a circle of about 2 inches on each piece of parchment paper.
Heat the oil to 370 degrees F in a deep-fryer or in a large saucepan. The oil needs to be hot enough to sizzle a bread crumb. Let the crullers glide into the oil by carefully turning the parchment squares upside down and gently rolling up the two opposite edges. Fry only a few crullers at a time. They should be golden brown and puffy. Remove from the oil and drain on paper towels.