Aberdeen crulla

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • For

    12-14

    crullas

Appears in

Oats in the North, Wheat from the South: The history of British Baking, savoury and sweet

Oats in the North, Wheat from the South

By Regula Ysewijn

Published 2020

  • About

Many sources claim that the Abdereen crulla comes from Dutch krulla or krullers, but I haven’t been able to find a similar twisted bake with that name anywhere in my historical Dutch cookbooks.

The US and Canada have twisted fritters called ‘Crullers’, which could explain the name, as many Dutch words were adapted and used in a different context than Dutch people would use them. A ‘cruller’ would be someone who curls things, not a pastry that is curled. In Southern Sweden and Denmark, Klenäter, which means ‘small, expensive and finely created objects’ – are baked for Christmas. They look a lot like the aforementioned Crullers and the Jersey Wonders from the Isle of Jersey, which are published in my book, Pride and Pudding.

The earliest recipe I could find for an Aberdeen crulla creates a near-identical bake to the three twisted fritters I mentioned above. The recipe appears in Mrs Dalgairns The Practice of Cookery from 1829, and instructs the reader to create an oblong shape and to divide the centre into three or four strips, and then plait one bar over another, so as to meet in the centre. A century later, Scottish cookery author Florence Marian McNeill copied this recipe word for word in her book, The Scots Kitchen.

While Crullers and Klenäter still exist today, Aberdeen crulla have disappeared completely.

Ingredients

  • 100 g ( oz) butter, at room temperature
  • 100 g ( oz) raw (demerara) sugar or white sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 300 g (10½ oz) strong white bread flour
  • flour, for dusting
  • lard, beef tallow or oil, for deep-frying
  • icing (confectioners’) sugar or caster (superfine) sugar, for dusting

Method

Beat the butter and sugar together until creamy. Gradually add the beaten eggs, whisking constantly.

Add the flour, bit by bit and, once the dough forms a ball, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Cut off a 42 g (1½ oz) piece of dough. Roll the dough into a ball and then use a rolling pin to flatten it into an oval shape about 12 cm (4½ inches) long and 4 mm (3/16 inch) thick.

Use a small sharp knife to cut the dough lengthways into three even strips, leaving the top part joined so that you can plait the dough and then crimp the ends together.

Line a tray with paper towel. Melt some lard, tallow or oil in a deep-fryer or a heavy-based frying pan, making sure you have enough to cover the crullas, and heat it to 190°C (375°F). Carefully lower a crulla into the fat and fry for 4 minutes until browned but still blushing golden on both sides. You can fry a couple of crullas at the same time, but make sure they don’t stick together, or stick to the frying basket, if you are using one. Carefully remove with a slotted spoon or tongs and drain on the paper towel.

Dust the crullas with sugar and serve immediately.