Perfect German Apple Doughnuts (Apfelkrapfen)

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Apple doughnuts belong to carnival/ fasching just like cookies belong to Christmas. Though you can find them in almost every bakery at any time of the year.

They are known as Apfelkrapfen in Franconian region, Bavaria, but the name varies depending on where you are in Germany. For instance in Berlin they are known as ”Apfelberliner”.

After watching my mum in law, Beate making apple doughnuts, I’ve decided to give them a try.

I made this recipe numerous times and it always turns out well. I could even make it in my sleep. Some of my German friends are always surprised that I can bake lots of German goodies like a pro. What can I say, I have a great teacher. ;-). Though this recipe is easy to make, it requires lots of patience.

What are apple doughnuts:

The apple doughnuts are moist and fluffy deep fried sweet yeasted pastry in spiral form, stuffed with apples and topped with cinnamon – sugar. They are perfect for breakfast and brunch.

They taste over the top when freshly baked. You can cover the leftovers with a kitchen cloth or put them in a plastic to keep them fresh for up to 2 days or freeze them for later. Simply let frozen doughnuts thaw and warm in the oven/ microwave before consuming.

How to make the doughnuts:

The dough is rolled out after rising, brushed with an egg, sprinkled with diced apples and then tightly rolled dough up, before cutting it into slices.

This recipe is the same as the one that Beate uses, the only difference is

  • I’ve used sunflower oil and dry yeast, whereas my mum in law uses clarified butter and fresh yeast
  • I kneaded my dough a bit longer. I always knead my dough for a couple of minutes at low speed and then at high speed. I’ve learned this trick from an old lady who used to work in a bakery. This makes the yeasted baked goodies stay fresh fresh, moist and fluffy, even after days.

Looking for more apple featured recipes?


German Apple Doughnuts

Yield: 16 doughnuts
Prep Time: 40 min
Rise time: 90 min
Bake Time: 25 min
Total Time: 2 h 35 min

You’ll need

For the dough:

– 500 g (17.6 oz/ 4 cups + 2 tabelspoons) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
– 4 teaspoons dry yeast
– 1 medium egg
– 80 g ( 2.8 oz/ ¼ cup ) sugar
– 80 g (2.8 oz/ ¼ cup) butter
– 250 ml (8.5 fl.oz/ 1 cup) whole milk
– ½ teaspoon salt

For the filling and topping:

– 4 medium apples
– 1 medium egg
– 4 tablespoons sugar
– 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

You’ll also need:

– sunflower oil/ clarified butter for frying
– 2 bowls + plate + jar
– knife + slotted spoon + normal spoon
– cooling rack/paper towels
– large pot
– electric mixer with dough hooks
– rolling pin/ empty glass bottle
– cling film

How to make German apple doughnuts

Activate yeast

Heat milk in a pot at medium heat. Pour half of the milk in a jar. Put the butter in the remaining milk in the pot. Stir occasionally until butter has melted.

In the meantime add 2 tablespoons flour, 1 tablespoon sugar and yeast to the jar with lukewarm milk. Stir well and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes.

Remove the pot from the heat and let the milk – butter mixture cool.

Make and knead the dough

Put the flour, the remaining sugar, egg and salt in a bowl. Then pour in the yeast – sugar mixture. Start mixing, while adding the lukewarm milk – butter mixture slowly.

NOTE:  It’s very important that milk and butter mixture is lukewarm and not hot before using it.

Knead the dough very well, until you see bubbles in the dough or until it’s no more sticking on the walls of the bowl. If you’re using your hands, just knead the dough nicely until you see the above mentioned signs.

Let the dough rise

Using one hand, remove the dough from bowl and dust it with 1 tablespoon flour. Put the dough back, turn in well so that it is completely covered with flour. Cover with cling film and then with kitchen towel.

Let the dough rise for 1 hour in a warm place.

In the meantime prepare the topping and filling

In a bowl/ plate combine sugar with cinnamon and mix well.

Peel the apples, remove the core and cut into small pieces. Put the apple dices in a bowl, add 1 tablespoon sugar – cinnamon mixture and mix well.

Roll out and top the dough

Place the dough on a lightly floured silicone pastry mat or cutting board. Slightly flour the dough and roll it with a lightly floured rolling pin into a rectangle form (my rolled out dough was 40 x 60 cm (15.7 x 23.6 inches)).

Crack the egg in a bowl, mix it well and brush the dough top with it. Sprinkle the dough with the apples dices. Using your hands gently press the apples on the top of the dough, so that the filling will not be coming out when rolling.

Roll and cut in rolls

Carefully roll up the dough lengthwise so that in the end you have one long roll. Using a sharp knife cut the dough roll into 16 equal slices.

Hint: Cut the roll in the middle first, it makes it easier to cut equal rolls.

Let the rolls rise:

Put the rolls on a lightly floured old cloth, cutting board or a parchment paper. Don’t forget to leave enough space between the rolls for them to expand. Gently press each roll on top, so that it will become a bit flat. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for another 30 minutes.

In the meanwhile put the oil in the pot and heat at medium – low heat.

Deep fry the doughnuts

After 30 minutes pick up one roll at a time with a spotted spoon or something similar. Put it in a pot, the exactly same way it was on the spoon without turning it. Once the bottom is nicely brown, turn it, until the other side is also golden brown.

Note:

  • You can use a wooden spoon to check if the oil is ready. Simply insert the wooden spoon handle in oil. If bubbles start forming around the spoon, then the oil is ready.
  • If some apple dices come out while in the pot, just remove them from the oil and continue baking.

Remove the doughnuts from the fat, put them on the cooling rack or on paper towels to remove the excess fat. Once you’re able to touch the doughnuts with your hands, coat with cinnamon sugar that you’ve previously prepared.

Repeat the process until you have used up all the rolls.

Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe? I’d love to see! Snap a pic and share it on Ester kocht Facebook Page, @ester.kocht or #esterkocht on Instagram. Or simply write a comment.

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5 from 2 votes

Perfect German Apple Doughnuts (Apfelkrapfen)

This is hands down the Best German apple doughnuts (Apfelkrapfen) Recipe Ever. It's easy, moist, fluffy and stays fresh even after days. The yeasted apple doughnuts are perfect for special breakfast, brunch or indulge.
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Rise Time1 hr 30 mins
Total Time2 hrs 35 mins
Course: Beignets, Breakfast, Brunch
Cuisine: German
Keyword: apple doughnuts, donuts, Faschingskrapfen, fritter, how to, krapfen
Servings: 16 apple doughnuts
Author: Ester from esterkocht.com

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 500 g (17.6 oz/ 4 cups) plain flour plus extra for dusting
  • 4 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1 medium egg
  • 80 g 2.8 oz/ (¼ cup ) sugar
  • 80 g (2.8 oz/ ¼ cup ) butter
  • 250 ml (8.5 fl.oz/ 1 cup) whole milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • sunflower oil/ clarified butter for frying

For the filling and topping

  • 4 medium apples
  • 1 medium egg
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Instructions

  • Heat milk in a pot at medium heat. Pour half of the milk in a jar. Put the butter in the remaining milk in the pot. Stir occasionally until butter has melted. In the meantime add 2 tablespoons flour, 1 tablespoon sugar and yeast to the jar with lukewarm milk. Stir well and let the mixture stand for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the milk - butter mixture cool.
  • Put the flour, the remaining sugar, egg and salt in a bowl. Then pour in the yeast - sugar mixture. Start mixing, while adding the lukewarm milk - butter mixture slowly. Knead the dough very well, until you see bubbles in the dough or until it's no more sticking on the walls of the bowl. If you're using your hands, just knead the dough nicely until you see the above mentioned signs.
  • Using one hand, remove the dough from bowl and dust it with 1 tablespoon flour. Put the dough back, turn in well so that it is completely covered with flour. Cover with cling film and then with kitchen towel. Let the dough rise for 1 hour in a warm place.
  • In the meantime prepare the topping and filling. In a bowl/ plate combine sugar with cinnamon and mix well. Peel the apples, remove the core and cut into small pieces. Put the apple dices in a bowl, add 1 tablespoon sugar - cinnamon mixture and mix well.
  • Place the dough on a lightly floured silicone pastry mat or cutting board. Slightly flour the dough and roll it with a lightly floured rolling pin into a rectangle form (40 x 60 cm (15.7 x 23.6 inches)). Crack the egg in a bowl, mix it well and brush the dough top with it. Sprinkle the dough with the apples dices. Using your hands gently press the apples on the top of the dough, so that the filling will not be coming out when rolling. 
  • Carefully roll up the dough lengthwise so that in the end you have one long roll. Using a sharp knife cut the dough roll into 16 equal slices. Put the rolls on a lightly floured old cloth, cutting board or a parchment paper. Don't forget to leave enough space between the rolls for them to expand. Gently press each roll on top, so that it will become a bit flat. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for another 30 minutes.
  • In the meanwhile put the oil in the pot and heat at medium - low heat. After 30 minutes pick up one roll at a time with a spotted spoon or something similar. Put it in a pot, the exactly same way it was on the spoon without turning it. Once the bottom is nicely brown, turn it, until the other side is also golden brown.
  • Remove the doughnuts from the fat, put them on the cooling rack or on paper towels to remove the excess fat. Once you're able to touch the doughnuts with your hands, coat with cinnamon sugar that you've previously prepared. Repeat the process until you have used up all the rolls.

Notes

  • You can use a wooden spoon to check if the oil is ready. Simply insert the wooden spoon handle in oil. If bubbles start forming around the spoon, then the oil is ready.

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8 Comments

  1. Elizabeth May

    This recipe was a nice easy one to do and it was very tasty. Everyone who tried them enjoyed them so will be keeping the recipe to do again

  2. 5 stars
    Wow Ester – these look just so moreish! They would be gone in a flash in our home! Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Oh my goodness this looks so delicious! Can’t wait to try it out!

  4. 5 stars
    These look delicious! I love anything with apples in it, and this doesn’t look too hard to make. I’ll have to pin this so I can make it someday. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Looks so yummy! Going to save this one!

  6. Those look so good. I’ve only used yeast a few times, and it worked out for me, but I’m always so intimidated by it. But these look worth trying. I like how the apples are scattered throughout so you don’t have to eat to the middle to get the apple flavor. Pinning now to try it myself one day.

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