The Pre-Lenten season in Germany goes by many names depending on the region. The traditions also vary. It is known as Karneval in Rheinland-Pfalz; Fasching in Bavaria, Berlin, and Austria; and Fastnacht in Baden, Swabia, and Switzerland. Karneval (nicknamed die fünfte Jahreszeit- fifth season) starts on November 11th at 11:11 in the morning and lasts until Fastnachtsdienstag, the day before Ash Wednesday. Today is called Rosenmontag (Rose Monday) and is celebrated with parades- the largest celebration takes place in Cologne.
More information on Karneval.
These doughnuts also go by many names. The most popular name is the Berliner. They are known as Pfannkuchen in Berlin, Brandenburg, Freistaat Sachsen, and Sachsen-Anhalt; Krapfen in Bavaria, Austria, and Northern Italy; Kreppel in Hessen; Fastnachtsküchle in Rheinland-Pfalz and Switzerland; and Fasnetskiachla in Swabia. The type of jam used also depends on the region. Fillings include strawberry, raspberry, plum, cherry, or apricot jam. Variations may also include cream or chocolate.
While looking for common Karneval foods, I noticed one common theme with many countries- fried dough. Berliners in Germany, Beignets in Louisiana, Chiacchiere in Italy- people around the world celebrate the Pre-Lenten season with different types of fried pastries. I rarely fry food, so this was a bit out of my comfort zone. Luckily, this was a fairly easy dough to work with and I used a thermometer to make sure the oil stayed at the right temperature.
I filled my Berliner with raspberry and strawberry jam. The strawberry ones were my favorite. Be careful with the size pastry tip you use. It needs to be the smallest possible, while also large enough to let the jam through. I ended up having to switch to an almost medium tip, because the jam kept getting stuck with the small tip. Practice piping first before you completely fill the pastry bag. It wasn’t very fun to have to empty out the bag to change tips.