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What Is Kreple?

By Angela Farrer
Updated May 16, 2024
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Kreple is a type of doughnut dessert usually made from a mixture of sugar, eggs, lard, and various fruit for flavoring. This dish has origins in the Polish recipe for Silesia, and it can also be spelled krappel, or krepel. These types of Silesian doughnuts are also popular throughout Germany and are made in the same shape as the German-style doughnut known as a Berliner. Kreple is a favorite pre-Lenten dessert because it uses up the sweet ingredients that are not allowed during this time of religious observance.

Roughly the same size as other doughnut-type desserts, kreple doughnuts usually have no hole and are stuffed with fruit filling instead. The origins of kreple are usually traced to recipes developed in 19th and early 20th century peasant homes of Europe. Most of these households regularly used up food items as efficiently as possible due to the need for economic frugality. Before refrigeration became common in homes, kreple was considered a favorite Mardi Gras food that also avoided the presence of leftover ingredients that would otherwise spoil during Lent.

Recipes for kreple dough can vary according to family traditions, but the basic ingredients typically consist of all-purpose flour, white sugar, eggs, and a small pinch of salt to round out the flavor. Some recipes require a smaller amount of flour than would be used for baking bread from scratch, and yeast is also a recipe requirement for the finished doughnuts to have the right texture. Some cooks mix in lard for the dough to reach the right consistency, while others prefer to use butter or margarine because they have less fat. A measure of vanilla extract is also frequently added to bring out more of the sweetness.

Kreple ingredients for filling can often be jams or preserves in various fruit flavors. The doughnuts can also sometimes be filled with marmalade, custard, or sweet icing, depending on the baker's preferences. Once each kreple doughnut is formed from the dough and filled with the ingredients of choice, batches of them are usually fried in oil until golden brown in color. They can then be glazed or iced on their tops if the baker wishes.

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