|This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2011)|
A Stutenkerl belongs to the Saint Nicholas tradition in the German-speaking countries. It is a pastry made of Stuten, sweet leavened dough, in the form of a man (Kerl is German for 'lad' or 'fellow'). Stutenkerl is available usually around Saint Nicholas' Day, December 6th, but in parts of the Rhineland already at Saint Martin's Day in November.
There are numerous regional names for the Stutenkerl, such as Kiepenkerl, Weckmann (in the south west), Klaaskerl, Stutenmann, Hefekerl, Männele, Boxemännchen (in Luxembourg), Grittibänz and Grättimaa (Switzerland) etc.
The pastry often has inserted raisins and a clay pipe. This pipe may have to do with the Reformation, to make the originally catholic bishop figure more secular.