The word Krapfen may sound like a swear word. But in simple terms it’s just the Austrian version of a donut. My favourite donut of all time is the classic hot jam variety, best sourced from a roadside truck or market in a pack of 6 (buy 5 get one free), so hot you burn your tongue and so sugary it can’t be eaten indoors.
Austrian’s go crazy for Krapfen. But while they may look like a donut, they have a different kind of dough – it’s denser than the classic hot jam, but somehow still manages to be fluffy. And there’s no hole. Krapfen are available all year round, but they also have a ‘season’ – basically as soon as you hit November 11 – marking the beginning of Fasching – they are everywhere.
But there are a number of different types available depending on where you are and what you’re doing – and given we just celebrated Fasching here in Austria, here’s a brief overview.
The round Krapfen is typically filled with jam – apricot is the most popular, because well… Austrians love apricot jam. But you can also get them with different fillings – custard is another favourite, as is chocolate.
Stangenkrapfen are often served at mountain huts and Jause stations. These are shaped differently, usually three long sausages that cook together and they have no jam inside – just icing sugar over the top. These are always homemade, fresh and they taste great after a hike.
I’ve mentioned these previously – it’s a typically Carinthian thing (well at least according to the Carinthians!). Take a plain Krapfen, cut it up and soak it in schnapps. They’re great if you love schnapps, which of course all Austrians do. If you’re not so keen on the taste, then I’d recommend eating and drinking them separately.
You can also get Krapfen as a dessert in many restaurants. I’ve seen it called an Indiana, but to be fair it could have other names, and there seems to be a few different versions. But in a nut shell, they take a Krapfen, cut it in half, fill it with cream, top it with chocolate and sometimes ice cream too. Not bad!
Of course Austrians are not the only ones eating Krapfen. There are different names and versions around the country, and they are also found in Germany and I imagine other nearby countries… but I certainly don’t have the knowledge yet to go into that!