“There was the doughty doughnut, the tender oly koek, and the crisp and crumbling cruller…”
-The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Washington Irving
What is a cruller?
Today the word cruller usually represents a type of twisted doughnut. However, in Washington Irving’s time, it was a deep-fried pastry in the shape of corkscrew curls or love knots. The term cruller is descended from kruller, from the Dutch word krullen ‘to curl’.
Corkscrew curls or loveknots?
There were two designs for the ‘crumbling cruller’ that we came across in The Sensible Cook, but regardless of which one you choose to make, it’s not the doughnut cruller that we know today!
One cruller design that is common today across Holland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, is pastry shaped into love knots. To make, the dough is cut into elongated diamonds, slicing the middle and pulling the dough through itself.
Another type of cruller, and the one we chose to make for The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, is a corkscrew curl. The cruller is created by cutting the dough into strips, and then wrapping it around a wooden spoon handle, before dropping it into the bubbling oil to fry. Crisp and crumbling is right though; it’s crispy but falls apart easily, so gently, gently!