Zwetschgenmusbällchen and Vanillebällchen are another of Rischart’s doughnut Fasching treats.
Google doesn’t really offer a decent translation of “Zwetschgen” and it seems to be quite an awkward one to put your finger on – and I hope any Zwetschgen aficionados reading this don’t take too much offence if I’ve slightly missed the mark… But as far as I can tell, Zwetschgen are a subspecies of plum and land somewhere between a plum and a damson, with a slight sourness and a greater firmness than a standard ripe plum. When they’re turned into a ‘butter’ and squeezed into a doughnut, it’s a wonderful thing.
The plummy filling here isn’t as thick or glutinous as a jam, it’s middle ground between smooth jam and thick sauce. Whilst sugar drives away any tartness the fruit has, it’s not overly sweetened. I know I say this a lot but Bavarian baking really does prize the balance between sweet and tart. In coming from England, where sugar is often king and we’ve somewhat lost the art of baking with fruit whilst retaining that sweet-sour balance, it’s a wonderfully refreshing change.
Both the Plum and Vanilla varieties are made with a Quark enriched yeast dough, which produces a wonderfully structured airy bread. Check out all the little air bubble holes in the photos! It’s delicate but with a slight elasticity that adds a little bit of texture. These do seem to have a little more grease on the surface than their krapfen cousins, giving them a more traditional doughnut feel on the fingers.
Given their size I’m surprised at just how much filling Rischart have managed to stuff into the plum variety! They can and will gently explode as they’re bitten, leaving you with fruity sauce running down your hand – Being a bit of a child myself, I thought this was quite fun and made me like them all the more. Plus I got the little sugar crystals all over my fingers and what child doesn’t enjoy licking sugar off their fingertips? I loved them, actually. Mr E3 on the other hand preferred the Vanilla version. They’re less messy, with only a dusting of powdered sugar and no risk of explosion, but I thought the filling wasn’t as generous and there wasn’t a great contrast between the dough and the cream.
Impressively though, both versions managed to survive being purchased and kept in a messenger style bag for well over an hour without showing signs of damage. Awesome stuff!