One of many German New Year’s Eve traditions are Krapfen aka Berliner, a North German pastry made from sweet yeast dough fried in oil or lard, with a marmalade filling and usually powdered sugar or regular sugar on top. There are many varieties, including chocolate, plum butter, mocha, champagne, rum, custard or advocaat, but the traditional is some kind of red jam such as raspberry, strawberry or cherry. Today, Krapfen can be purchased throughout the year, but they were traditionally eaten to celebrate New Year’s Eve (Silvester) as well as the Karneval holidays (Rosenmontag and Fat Tuesday).
Hermann Bahlsen, Leibniz Butterkeks, 1891. Germany. Via Goetheinstitut
Bahlsen invented the shape of the biscuit and introduced the word “Keks” into German, deriving from the English word “cakes”. In the late 19th century it was all the rage to name products after famous people. Since the biscuits were made in Hanover, the choice was to name them after the mathematician Leibniz. The edge of the biscuit has 52 teeth, if there is one more or less, it’s an imitation.
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