Berliner with plum jam filling
|Alternative name(s)||Berliner, Pfannkuchen, Krapfen|
|Place of origin||Germany and Central Europe|
|Main ingredient(s)||yeast dough, marmalade or jam, icing, powdered sugar or sugar|
A Berliner Pfannkuchen (also called Berliner or Krapfen in Germany, fánk in Hungary, Bolo de Berlim in Portugal, Sonho in Brazil, berliininmunkki in Finland, sufganiyah in Israel, doughnut in England, kobliha in the Czech Republic, šiška in Slovakia, pączek in Poland, berlinesas in Mexico, berlinerbolle in Norway bola de fraile or suspiro de monja in Argentina, bombolone in Italy, Berlinerbol in the Netherlands, and bismark in Canada and parts of the United States) is a predominantly German and Central European doughnut (without a central hole) made from sweet yeast dough fried in fat or oil, with a marmalade or jam filling and usually icing, powdered sugar or conventional sugar on top. They are sometimes made with chocolate, champagne, custard, mocha, or advocaat filling, or with no filling at all. The filling is injected with a large syringe after the pastry is fried.
The traditional Pfannkuchen made in Berlin are fried in lard. The filling is related to the topping: for plum-butter, powdered sugar; for raspberry, strawberry and cherry jam, sugar; for all other fillings, sugar icing.
Today they can be purchased throughout the year, but their origin was a special pastry for New Year's Eve. In Berlin it is a common joke at a New Year's Eve party to offer one Pfannkuchen filled with mustard.
Regional variations 
The terminology used to refer to this delicacy differs in various areas of Germany. While most areas call it Berliner (Ballen), the Berliners themselves and residents of Brandenburg, Western Pomerania, Saxony-Anhalt and Saxony know them as Pfannkuchen, which in the rest of Germany generally means pancakes; pancakes are known there as Eierkuchen ("egg cakes"). In parts of southern and central Germany (Bavaria), as well as in much of Austria, they are a variety of Krapfen (derived from Old High German kraffo and furthermore related to Gothic language krappa). In Hessen they are referred to as Kräppel or Kreppel. Residents of the Palatinate call them Fastnachtsküchelchen ("little carnival cakes"), hence the English term for a pastry called "Fasnacht"; further south, the Swabians use the equivalent term in their distinctive dialect: Fasnetskiachla. In South Tyrol and Triveneto part of northern Italy, the food is called krafen or krapfen, while in the southern parts it can be referred as bomba or bombolone. In Slovenia, it is krof; in Croatia krafni; in Bosnia, and Serbia krofne. In Poland they are known as pączki, in the Czech Republic as kobliha. In Hungary, it is called fánk. All of these are essentially identical preparations.
In English-speaking countries, Berliners are usually called doughnuts and are usually filled with jam, jelly, custard or whipped cream. However, in South Australia, the Kitchener bun is a Berliner cut on the side for the filling of jam and cream. In Anglophone North America, the most common term for the jam- or jelly-filled pastry is "jelly doughnut". The name is somewhat misleading, since the jam or jelly used is specially made with less pectin, so that it does not "set" like jams and jellies manufactured for table use but has a consistency comparable to Bavarian cream.
The cream or custard-filled variety usually also feature chocolate icing and are sometimes called Bavarian cream or Boston cream doughnuts (the latter name from its resemblance to Boston cream pie). The Boston cream doughnut has been designated the official state doughnut of Massachusetts.
In Ontario and the prairie western provinces of Canada, as well as parts of the Midwest in the US, such a round jelly- or custard-filled doughnut is commonly called a "bismark," while a filled bar doughnut is called a "long john", and usually contains pastry creme, custard or whipped cream but can contain a jelly filling. Other Canadian terms include "jambuster" in Manitoba, and "Burlington bun" in Nova Scotia.
Berliners are traditionally eaten to celebrate on New Year's Eve (Silvester) as well as the carnival holidays (Mardi Gras). A common German practical joke is to secretly fill some Berliners with mustard instead of jam and serve them together with regular Berliners without telling anyone.
In Portugal, berliners are slightly bigger than their German counterparts. They are known as bolas de Berlim (Berlin ball) and the filling is always an egg-yolk based yellow cream called creme pasteleiro (lit. confectioner's cream). The filling is inserted after a half length cut and is always visible. Regular sugar is used to sprinkle it. They can be found in almost every pastry shop in the country.
Such versions are also found in Latin America, in Chile, Uruguay and Argentina, where it's not only filled with custard (called "Crema pastelera"), but with jam (especially red ones), dulce de leche, or manjar blanco. In Brazil, berliners are called sonhos (dreams) and traditionally filled with yellow cream (called simply creme). Some modern variants filled with milk jam or a mix of chocolate and milk jam can be found in Rio de Janeiro's bakeries.
John F. Kennedy urban legend 
John F. Kennedy's words "Ich bin ein Berliner" are standard German for I am a Berliner. An urban legend has it that due to his use of the indefinite article ein, Berliner is translated as jelly doughnut, and that the population of Berlin was amused by the supposed mistake. The normal convention when stating a nationality or, for instance, saying one is from Berlin, would be to leave out the indefinite article ein. However, Kennedy used the indefinite article here correctly to emphasize his relation to Berlin. Additionally, the word Berliner is not used in Berlin to refer to the Berliner Pfannkuchen. These are simply called Pfannkuchen there and therefore no one from Berlin would mistake Berliner for a pastry.
See also 
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Berliner|
|Look up Berliner, bismarck, Burlington bun, jambuster, or jelly doughnut in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|
- List of doughnut varieties
- Fat Thursday
- Carnival in Germany, Switzerland and Austria
- Kitchener bun
- Meyers, June. Authentic Hungarian Heirloon Recipes Cookbook
- "Donut", Massachusetts Secretary of State
- Berlin: Full of history, lifestyle and home-style cuisine at GermanFoods.org
- Daum, Andreas W. (2007). Kennedy in Berlin. Cambridge University Press. pp. 148–149. ISBN 3-506-71991-2.
- Canoo Engineering AG. "Gebrauch des unbestimmten Artikels (German, "Use of the indefinite article")". Retrieved 2010-07-05.
- German Wikipedia article on the "Berliner" Kennedy speech