In a lot of areas in Germany it is common to make ‘Kräppel’ (or Berliner, Krapfen or Pfannkuchen, depending on the dialect) during carnival time – little treats fried in oil similar to doughnuts. There’s a more gooey, yeast-free version of it called ‘Quarkbällchen’ with Quark (= curd cheese, kind of a lighter sour cream) and I’ve decided to give them a vegan try. Luckily, the first attempt turned out pretty well and I’m a bit proud that the taste is so close to the original. Get kneading and frying, and have a happy carnival time!
Makes about 40 gulf-ball-sized Quarkbällchen
- 500g soy-yoghurt (neutral or vanilla flavour)
- 500g flour
- 250g sugar plus half a cup for decorating
- 4 tbsp soy-flour or other egg-substitution for 4 eggs (apple sauce, banana, flax seed…)
- 1 packet (or 2 heaped tsp) of baking powder
- vanilla essence, vanilla sugar or ground vanilla
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- for frying: 1 liter of sunflower oil (can be used again afterwards)
Start with putting the soy-yoghurt in a strainer (Sieb), put it over a bowl, set it in the fridge and let the liquid from the yoghurt drop out, preferably over night but an hour will work, too.
Meanwhile, blend your ‘eggs’ in a cup by mixing the soy-flour with 9 to 10 tbsp of water. Pour 250g of sugar in a big bowl and mix with the soy-flour mixture until it’s a crumbly mass.
Combine flour and baking powder in a seperate bowl and add slowly to the mixture, blending it with a hand blender. Add your preferred vanilla flavour. Take the strained yoghurt, add some lemon juice to make it a bit flaky and add to the dough. Blend first, then knead until well combined.
Heat the oil in a big pot on the stove – or if you’re lucky and possess a chip pan (Fritteuse), use that – to about 180° C (356 °F). If you don’t have a thermometer, you can just use a wooden stick or tooth pick and hold it in the oil: If there are bubbles coming up around the wood, it’s got the right temperature. If it’s too hot, the Quarkbällchen will turn too crispy on the outside and stay liquid inside – happened to my first batch, so be careful ; )
Now take two teaspoons and carefully put one teaspoon of dough in the oil, like a little gulf ball. Don’t worry if you can’t form the perfect round ball, it looks even nicer if they have individual funny shapes ; ) Fry for about 6 to 7 minutes (depending on your oil and your preferred crispyness). Start with two or three and cut one open after a bit to test the consistency and if you need to adjust the oil temperature. It’s easier than it sounds! When they’re ready, take them out with two forks or a spatula and put on a plate lined with paper towels.
When they’re not hot anymore but still warm, decorate with some more sugar. I used a saucer filled with sugar and rolled the Quarkbällchen in it until covered in sweetness : )
Little tip: They taste best if you prepare them a day before and store them in an airtight container or plastic bag overnight. And now, enjoy your vegan Quarkbällchen with a cup of tea or coffee and celebrate carnival – Helau, Alaaf or as we say in my home village, Häi dou!
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