I would like to eat a Berliner please. What?

You are excused if you get confused these days. Is it a Krapfen? Is it a Pfannkuchen? Is it a Berliner? All three are wrong and all three are right, depending on where you are in Germany … or in the world (wait, we will get to that point later). We are talking about jam doughnuts here.

Berliner, Krapfen, Pfannkuchen? It is a jam doughnut

How to buy a Berliner in Berlin

Ever tried to order a Berliner in Berlin? This is obviously not a smart thing to do. If you are after a Berliner, try to be a bit more subtle, and start with flirting, it might turn out to be the love of your life. In Berlin, you have to order a Pfannkuchen (pancake), when you would like to have a Berliner (made from yeast dough). Who knows why they call a Berliner a pancake? A pancake as most people know it is called egg cake in this part of Germany.

How to buy a Berliner in Cologne

Visit Cologne in North Rhine Westphalia and order a Pfannkuchen, because you are well prepared, you know that is what they call these thingies in the capital city of the country. I really feel for you, because you'll get a totally different dish, you'll get a pancake made from flour and eggs (Pfannkuchen). Not fair I know, please order a Berliner and you'll get a Berliner made from yeast dough (a Pfannkuchen in Berlin).

If you think this is sorted, think again, the best is yet to come ... 

A jam doughnut dusted in icing sugar on a nicely decorated porcelain plate.
Looking closer. It is still a jam doughnut

How to buy a Berliner in Munich

Ever tried to get a Berliner in Munich? This is not going to happen. I am not saying there aren't any Prussians living in the capital of Bavaria. If you would like to eat a Berliner or a Pfannkuchen (are you still with me?) please order a Krapfen. I am not making this up, but this is what they call them in the southern part of Germany. But, and now please listen carefully, if later on, you would like to eat the exact same jam doughnut in North-Rhine Westphalia, please don’t forget it is called Berliner. If you order a Krapfen in North Rhine Westphalia, you will get a totally different type of pastry, one made from choux pastry dough. I am telling you, craving a jam doughnut made from yeast dough, isn't for the faint-hearted, you are entering a foodie-maze.

How to buy a Berliner in Melbourne

In Melbourne I went to a "French" bakery where they sell beignets made from yeast dough (Berliner, Krapfen, Pfannkuchen). I ordered: "I would like to have two beignets please." The lady behind the counter looked at me: "Sorry, can you say that again please." And so I said it again "I would like to have two beignets please." She smiled shyly and said: Sorry, but I didn't get that one." I said it again: "I would like to have two beignets please." She looked at me and replied helplessly: "I am so sorry, we don't sell these." I pointed at them and said: "Sorry, you do, here they are, right in front of you, labelled as beignets.” She looked at me now obviously relieved: “I see. You would like to have two jam doughnuts.” Big smiles on both sides: “Yes please, thank you very much”. In France beignets are made from choux pastry, hence the bakery in Melbourne should have offered them to their customers as jam doughnuts and not as beignets, but I don’t want to be the smart-ass immigrant. I take my jam doughnuts and leave the bakery, they are delicious.

Wherever you eat these things, enjoy. What are yeast pastry jam doughnuts called in your part of the world? Can’t wait to hear from you?

From Berlin with love