With the carnivals behind us, I thought it was time to share these with you. We call them krofi in Slovenia, but they are essentially the same thing as the Polish paczki or German krapfen.
They are made with a variety of fillings, my favourite has always been the classic apricot jam and sometimes vanilla cream, but I wanted to see how Nutella works with these. And it works great!
These doughnuts are soft and rich in flavour, sweet and very filling. I have to warn you, this isn’t a low-calorie dessert. But I eat doughnuts very rarely and therefore really indulge when I do make them or buy them. This usually happens in February and March, because of the carnivals and Fat Tuesday. Pretty much everyone in Slovenia stuff their faces with these during those days, bakeries make thousands and thousands of them a day! And if you’re lucky enough, you could get a free one as radio stations or student organizations often give them away around the city centers.
- 1 kg (35.3 oz / about 7 full cups) all purpose flour, sifted
- 85 gr (3 oz) fresh yeast
- 500 ml (2 cups + 1tbsp + 1tsp) milk
- 60 gr (5 tbsp) white granulated sugar
- 7 egg yolks
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 100 ml (1/2 cup minus 1 tbsp) sunflower oil
- 50 ml (1/4 cup minus 2 tsp) rum
- 1 teaspoon salt
- juice from half a lemon
- Sunflower or canola oil for frying (a least 2 liters = 8 1/2 cups)
- Nutella for filling (at least one large jar)
- Powdered sugar for coating
- This recipe makes 24 doughnuts.
- You can do what I did, and fill 1/2 of doughnuts with Nutella and the rest with jam. Slovenian doughnuts are normally filled with apricot jam, but I can also suggest rosehip or plum jam.
- For extra flavor, you can use vanilla flavored powdered sugar.
Directions for the dough
- First prepare the yeast. In a big bowl, warm 1/2 of the milk in the microwave. It shouldn’t be hot (you don’t want to kill the yeast), but warm to the touch. Break in the yeast and add a teaspoon of sugar, mix until the yeast dissolves. Cover the mixture with a tablespoon of flour and set aside.
- Cover 2-3 baking sheets with baking paper and set them aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until fluffy. Add oil, rum, vanilla extract and lemon juice and mix well.
- By now, your yeast has risen. Add it to the egg mixture.
- At this point, you can continue mixing the dough with a rubber spatula, or replace your mixer’s whisk with the dough hook.
- Add milk and incorporate it in the dough. Then slowly add flour, mixed with salt, in about three additions.
- Continue to mix for about 10-15 minutes, and do not forget to scrape the sides of the bowl.
- The dough you get will be a bit sticky and very thick. Make 24 balls out of this dough and place them on the prepared baking sheets. One ball should weigh around 80-100 grams. You can help yourself with an icecream scoop (or a large spoon) – one large scoop makes one ball.
- Let your doughnuts rise for at least 30 minutes, and flip them once after 15 minutes, so that they rise on both sides. If your kitchen is colder, they might need more time. They should double in size though.
Important note: do no let the doughnuts rise too much. This could happen with the last few, once you start frying them, if you work slowly (like I do). If you pick a doughnut up with a spatula, and it flattens as you touch it, do not fry it, because you’ll end up with a flat doughnut. Just knead it into a ball again and let it rise, again.
Directions for frying:
- Once the doughnuts have risen, it’s time to start frying them. Take a deep skillet (with a lid) and fill it with oil, about 5 cm (2 inches) high. You will fry them at medium heat. If your oil is too hot, the doughnuts will burn on the outside, but will stay raw in the center, and you don’t want that! 160°C (320°F) is the temperature you want, nothing more. While your oil is warming up, cover a baking sheet with paper towels and put it next to your stove.
- When the oil is ready start frying. I suggest you star with just one doughnut, to make sure the oil is just right. When that one is done, you can continue with frying 3-4 at the same time. The easiest way to pick a doughnut up is with a narrow steel spatula. Put it into the oil and cover the skillet with the lid. Let the doughnut fry for 4-5 minutes, until it’s golden brown on one side. Then remove the lid and fry it for about 3 minutes on the other side. Remove the doughnut with a spider strainer (or something similar) and put it on your baking sheet that is covered with paper towels. These will soak in any excess oil.
- Continue with the remaining doughnuts.
- Once the doughnuts have cooled enough that you can easily hold them in your hand, it’s time to fill them. Take a pastry bag and fill it with Nutella. Use a tip that has a large hole, but is long and slim. Pierce the doughnuts at the sides and fill them.
- Sift sugar over them when you are ready to serve. This is important. If you coat them hours before serving, the doughnuts will soak up some of the sugar and won’t look as pretty.
These are best the day they are made. They become drier with each passing day, but still taste pretty good. Store them in an airtight container for up to 2 days. If you wish to freeze them, you can! You can pack them in plastic bags, and it’s better if they aren’t coated in sugar. When you’re ready to take them out, thaw them first and then dust sugar on top.
Now of course, fresh doughnuts are still the best. But you know you’ll be thankful you saved a few when you’re desperately craving a doughnut and don’t want to go out or make them. If it makes you feel any better, my grandma has been doing this for years and I always loved the fact that I could open the freezer and find my grandmas doughnuts in there. She didn’t make any this year, because she broke her arm. But I made more than enough!
Updated recipe that makes a smaller batch + new flavor: Strawberry jam vanilla cream doughnuts