• Rhubarb and vanilla jam berliners (Petrina Tinslay)Source: Petrina Tinslay

Berliners are pillowy soft doughnuts without a hole filled with a delicious sweet jam, custard or cream. We have filled ours with Rhubarb and vanilla jam. Believed to have originated in Germany there are many variations of this type of doughnut from around the world. The best known is probably the American jelly doughnut or what Aussies call a jam doughnut.






Skill level

Average: 4.8 (5 votes)


  • 3 tsp instant dry yeast
  • 2 cups plain flour and a little extra for rolling
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅔ cup warm milk
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 60 g unsalted butter at room temperature, diced
  • vegetable oil, for deep-frying
  • extra, caster sugar, for rolling
  • 1 cup rhubarb and vanilla jam or you own favourite store bought jam


Rhubarb and vanilla jam


  • 500 g rhubarb, trimmed and finely sliced
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 x 125 g punnet raspberries
  • vanilla bean, scrape the seeds and reserve both
  • 750 g jam sugar


Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Proving time 1½ hours

To make the rhubarb and vanilla jam, place the rhubarb and water in a large open pot and bring to a rapid simmer, cook for 5 minutes stirring occasionally to break up the rhubarb. Once the rhubarb is pulpy stir in the raspberries and give a quick wiz with a stick blender to break them up. Stir through the jam sugar over a low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved. Increase to a rapid boil and cook for 4 minutes or until the jam wrinkles when tested on the back of the spoon. Using the jam setter ensures the jam will set every time. Pour into sterilised jars and seal. Use as required (see Note).

To make the doughnuts, place the yeast, flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and gently mix to combine.

Add the milk and eggs and beat to form a soft dough. With the mixer running drop in the butter, a few cubes at a time and beat until all of the butter has been added and is well combined in the yeast dough. The dough should be soft but not so sticky that you can’t roll it out.

Remove the dough from the mixer and place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and allow the dough to prove in a warm place for 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size. The dough can be allowed to stand overnight in the refrigerator and you can make fresh doughnuts to order in the morning! The refrigerator slows the proving process.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured bench and give it a light knead. Roll out to 1½ cm thickness and cut rounds of dough with a 7 cm cutter. Gently reroll the dough and cut more berliners. Place on a tray lined with baking paper and set aside in a warm place for 45 minutes or until they have double in size.

Heat the vegetable oil in a large open pot, I find a wok works well for deep frying and using a thermometer heat the oil to 180˚C (360˚F). Carefully lower the doughnuts into the oil and fry for 2-3 minutes each side until golden brown.

Using a slotted spoon lift the doughnuts from the hot oil , drain on absorbent paper and toss in the extra caster sugar until well coated. Place onto a cake rack lined with baking paper.

Using a narrow pointed knife cut a slit into the side of the doughnuts to create a pocket for the jam. Warm the jam slightly in the microwave and place into a piping bag with a plain nozzle and pipe into the slit in the side of the doughnut. Serve warm.



• This recipe uses jam sugar, which you can buy in the supermarket. It has the pectin, which sets the jam, already added to the sugar. This ensure that the jam will set every time even when you are using fruits low in pectin, like rhubarb. It also means that the fruits are not cooked for a long time, making sure they keep their vibrant colour and fresh fruity taste.


Photography by Petrina Tinslay, styling by David Morgan and art direction by Anne Marie Cummins.