Today’s recipe for German Rings was submitted by Mrs. L. Merrick for the 1906 Berlin Cook Book.
This dessert was easier to make than I expected. I creamed butter and sugar together and then added the flour, soda, baking powder and salt. I added a little more than a teaspoon of vinegar to the 2% milk and beat in the egg. The liquid was added to the dry ingredients. I had to use my hands to get it completely mixed and was actually surprised it all mixed in as there is a lot of flour in this recipe.
Next I rolled out a portion of the dough and used a doughnut cutter to create the required rings. It would be possible to cut rings using two glasses of different size diameters to create an inner and outer cut or to cut them free hand. I took my usual precautions (extinguisher, lid etc.) before frying the rings in hot lard. They will sink at first them float to the top and will even turn over themselves if there is enough room in the pot. I drained them and decided to try adding a little icing sugar to part of the German Ring.
Mrs. L. Merrick is Franzis (Frances or Frankisca) H. Kranz, the wife of Louis D. Merrick. In 1901 the couple are listed as lodgers in the home of Abel Walper but this is likely the Walper Hotel in downtown Berlin as there are 11 domestics and 22 other lodgers listed including another married couple. The couple is living at 17 St. George street in the 1911 census where they are listed as H. D. Merrick and Francy Merrick along with a 20-year-old servant named Lydia Lash. That is really her name! Mr. Merrick’s heritage is German while the two women have German ancestry. I’m a bit surprised to see that the couple differ as to religion. Mr. Merrick is Roman Catholic while Mrs. Merrick is Lutheran. At 48 and 45 it looks like the couple don’t have children. Mr. Merrick is a merchant with a china ware store.
It is hard to describe Mrs. Merrick’s German Rings. The dough is a bit sweet and the rings double in thickness while in the fat. They come out nice and crispy on the outside and a bit like a sweet biscuit on the inside. They are unlike any doughnut I’ve ever come across and yet they seem familiar. I did not roll the dough thin enough and I think they might be even better that way. This recipe is worth a try if you like doughnuts but it makes a large amount so you might want to share with a few friends.
6 cups sifted flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon soda, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 egg, 1 1/2 cups rich sour milk. Mix flour, butter, sugar, salt, baking powder and soda together, add well beaten eggs and milk to dry ingredients. Cut in rings and fry in hot lard.