Family Tradition: Berliner and Verwurelter

Last night our family gathered for one of our traditional family traditions.
You can never have too much tradition!

Fasching, also known as Karnival or Fastnacht in Germany, begins on the 11th day of November at exactly 11 minutes after 11 o’clock in the morning and ends at midnight of Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday.

In Luxembourg, it’s called Fuesecht and in Echternach, where we live, it’s Foasicht.

Our family tradition of making Berliner, a jelly donut filled with Quetschekraut, and Verwurelter or Fasching Knots began when our children were small and I made my first Berliner. Our children found time in their busy Foasicht schedules to come home for our version of the Carnival pastries.

In my blog post 52 Ancestors: #3 The KREMER-PEFFER Family (1905-1987) I wrote about the KREMER family making Quetschekraut which is used to fill the Berliner.

Filling the Berliner

I don’t use a pastry bag to fill my Berliners with Quetschekraut as seen in most recipes. I’ve heard that some people cheat make donuts (without holes), cut them open and fill them with Quetschekraut. I cut out rounds of dough with a large cookie cutter, put as much Quetschekraut as possible (large heaping tablespoon) in the middle of a round, wet the edge with a little bit of water and cover it with another round, pressing the edges to seal.

I let them rise again under a tea towel for about 1/2 hour, press the edges again before frying them in batches. This year the Quetschekraut was nice and thick and not too much juice seeped out. I used about a 1/3 of the 1-liter jar (pictured above), placing it in a clean tea towel in a colander for several hours to “dry” it out a bit.

I fry them two minutes on one side and then flip them over and fry for another 2 minutes until golden brown.

I remove them from the fryer, place them on a cooling rack and sift powdered sugar on both sides. For easy clean up I place paper towels under the rack.

The first Berliner is always for my husband, my taster. Since I’ve been making them for about 20 years now, he is no longer as critical as he was in the beginning when I didn’t put in enough Quetschekraut. One of the reasons we never buy Berliners at the bakery is that they fill them with so little Quetschekraut or they fill them with other fruit jams (apricot, strawberry).

If doubled the Fasching Knots recipe will make a baker’s dozen (12 + 1 for the taster) Berliner and about 3-4 dozen knots or Verwurelter depending on how small or large you make them.

Verwurelter : Fasching Knots


2 1/4 cups (375 gr.) flour
1 package dry yeast
1/2 cup (1/8 liter) warm milk
2 heaping tbsp sugar
1 egg
4 tbsp (50 gr.) butter

For coating: granulated or powdered sugar


Sift flour into bowl; mix in the yeast. Add remaining ingredients and knead with mixer. Let rise 1 hour in warm place.

Roll out dough to about 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) thickness. Cut in finger-thick strips. Tie knots or braid three strips together. Gather scraps and re-roll if needed. Let rise another 1/2 hour to 1 hour under a tea towel.

Fry in deep fryer at 350° F (180° C) about 2-4 minutes depending on size. Do not crowd. Transfer warm knots to a deep plate with granulated sugar, roll to cover completely. Or allow to cool and sift powdered sugar over the knots before serving.

Yields: about 4 dozen Verwurelter

© 2015, copyright Cathy Meder-Dempsey. All rights reserved.

Author: Cathy Meder-Dempsey

When I’m not doing genealogy and blogging, I spend time riding my racing bike with my husband through the wonderful Luxembourg countryside.

19 thoughts on “Family Tradition: Berliner and Verwurelter”

  1. Oh, my! That is a tradition I can definitely embrace. Thanks for the recipe. I was in Germany teaching a class a few years back, and the beginning of class happened to correspond to Fasching. Several participants brought in terrific photos from Stuttgart’s parade, but alas, no jelly doughnuts.


  2. Very interesting! Can you explain why it starts on November 11? I assume it has something to do with Armistice Day, but since Germany lost World War I, it seems an odd date for a celebration to begin.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I knew I should have done more research on this. 🙂
      It has to do with the church calendar but some say it is a pagan celebration. November 11 is St. Martin’s Day, the time of harvest celebrations and when they slaughtered the fattened cattle. Some countries start on January 6th (3 Kings Day) while Luxembourg starts on Feb 2, Lichtmess Day (same day as Groundhog Day) and goes a bit longer than in Germany.
      Children in Germany go through their town with lanterns on St. Martin’s day and the children of Luxembourg do the same on Lichtmess Day, singing a song asking for bacon and peas.


    1. The armistice took effect the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” of 1918. I read in a blog that the date was chosen because the Germans, Catholics, and Protestants all knew this day and it would be a date to remember. There was no source and I haven’t been able to find out if this is true.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. aaahhh…. Berliner. That’s how we call them back home up North. Of course the people in Berlin call them Pfannkuchen. Which is something else where I am from. In Hessen we call them Kreppel. And I just had my last one today til November 11, 2015 😉 43 minutes and I am on lent..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, I wish I was visiting you right now! It looks so good. Interesting that for Hanukkah (which is soon) Jews eat filled doughnuts. I thought of that because I am having some made at a local gluten-free bakery for my husband who has celiac disease. Too hard to bake gluten-free. But your treats here look professionally made. I’m sure if I tried they would look like a schoolkid made them!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for the compliment. The knots are easy. The filled doughnuts are a bit for difficult. I had problems with them yesterday when I made them. The first one popped open and the filling ran out. Luckily it was after I removed it from the deep fryer. I’ve thought about piping in the filling after they’ve been fried but my taster thinks there won’t be enough filling.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Your taster needs to help hahaha! This is why I am having the bakery make the GF ones because GF dough doesn’t hold together very well. Can you even imagine?! Oh, you are making me so hungry, Cathy!

        Liked by 1 person

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