Perfecting Pfannkuchen with Lauren Owen (The Quick, 2014)


When Nico and I decided to make pfannkuchen, I felt more than a little trepidation. Lauren’s characters eat tasty baked potatoes, dripping with melted butter, or they tuck into hearty winter soups. Although I could have produced a recipe for either of these with ease, Nico felt that was a little boring. So we choose pfannkuchen instead. There are two types of this German sweet – one which resembles crepes (again, I could probably have made this easily) and one which is like a doughnut. Lauren told us she imagined the characters eating the latter.

So I found a recipe online and attempted to make pfannkuchen. It wasn’t exactly a success (although my husband still ate the resultant sweet dough concoction). So I changed the recipe and made them again. It went perfectly. The pfannkuchen I made might not be exactly authentic, but they are not difficult to make and they taste delicious.

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Note: you also need a pan with about 1 inch of oil. A sugar thermometer is really helpful.

150g plain flour
150g strong white bread flour
2 egg yolks
1 tsp dried active yeast
120ml warm milk + 1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp caster sugar (for coating)
6 tbsp jam – optional, for filling


Mix the dried ingredients together in a large bowl. Add the salt to the opposite side of the bowl to the yeast.
Add the wet ingredients and mix into a rough dough.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes (or do this for about 5 minutes in a mixer).
Return to the bowl and cover with cling film or a damp tea-towel.
Leave until doubled in size (this takes about an hour).
For unfilled pfannkuchen, divide the dough into 12 and shape into balls. I then put these on a silicon/baking paper/Teflon sheet and left them to rise for another 20 minutes.
For filled pfannkuchen, divide the dough into 24 balls. Make each one into a disc. Spoon some jam into the middle of 12 of the discs. Then brush some egg white around the edge of the disc and put the lid on top. Press round the edges to seal. Put them on a baking paper sheet and leave to rise for 20 minutes.
Heat the oil to about 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t let it go above 325 degrees. Fry each pfannkuchen for 3-5 minutes. If the oil is too hot, the pfannkuchen will brown quickly but remain raw inside (something I found out!). Don’t panic – you can microwave the ones that go wrong.
Put the cooked pfannkuchen on a cooling rack for a minute, then roll in sugar.
Eat warm!

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