Cruller recipe | Sleepy Hollow

“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!



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  • Author: Bryton Taylor; Food in Literature
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 55 mins
  • Yield: 20 1x


  • 9 tbsp butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 2/3 flour
  • 2 tbsp cream (optional)


  1. Cream the butter until light and fluffy
  2. Add egg and mix
  3. Add flour bit by bit
  4. If the dough is too stiff, add cream. Roll to 1/6 inch, cut into strips 3/4 inch wide.
  5. Twist around the handle of wooden spoon to make a curl and gently slide off into the hot oil.
  6. Fry until golden brown, remove form oil and drain on paper towels.
  7. You can finish them off with a dusting of icing sugar.


We found it easier to pop a few in the freezer for 2 minutes to help keep their shape when we dropped it into the oil.

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  1. Hi,

    Thanks for providing this recipe. I have been looking for a source to get the crullers that I used to buy from the Buddha Bakers on Staten Island back in the late 60s. I guess I’ll have to make them myself.

    One Question: In the recipe when you list the ingredients, should “1⅔ flour” read 1⅔ cups flour?

    Thanks in advance

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