November 14, 2014

1856 Cruller Recipe: Historical Food Fortnightly

"Hither came to us in our isolation, the North Star, laden with packages for the brave men, who were far away from home fighting for their country. How we blessed the little hands that shaped the crullers and made the pies and the kind hearts of fair maidens in whom an appreciation of the heroic is never wanting."
-Brown University in the Civil War
1856 Civil War Era Cruller Recipe

The Challenge: "If They’d Had It… November 2 - November 15
Have you ever looked through a cookbook from another era and been surprised at the modern dishes you find? Have you ever been surprised at just how much they differ from their modern counterparts? Recreate a dish which is still around today, even if it may look a little - or a lot - different!"

The Recipe:

The Date/Year and Region:
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Although cruller comes from a dutch word, krullen, which means "to curl," crullers have traditions in Dutch, German, Scandinavian, Austrian and Polish foodways. The Dutch and Germans are credited for bringing crullers to the United States. The recipes differ in flavorings and proportions but are still deep fried, twisted stick shaped doughnuts. Crullers were a popular dish on Shrove Tuesday and differ from French Crullers which are made with pate a choux and are circular.   

How Did You Make It:


- About 3 Cups of Flour
- 6 Tablespoons Sugar
-1 Stick Butter
-1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
-2 Tablespoons Brandy
-1 Tablespoon Salaeratus ( 3/4 Tablespoon Baking Soda)


Cream the sugar into the butter. Whisk the eggs in a separate bowl, add the brandy and the cinnamon. Add the egg mixture to the butter mixture and add flour until it forms a dough. Roll the dough out to about 1/2 inch and cut into long strips. Fold each strip over and twist the dough around itself and pinch at the end. Deep fry the crullers in lard. Sprinkle with sugar when cool. 

Time to Complete:
40 minutes.

Total Cost:
I had everything on hand, but the ingredients would cost a few dollars.

How Successful Was It?: 
I had no success with making longer crullers, perhaps if I added more flour they wouldn't have fallen a part so easily. The dough tasted very plain even with the cinnamon. I believe frying them in lard would have added a lot of flavor. If I were to make these again I would cover the crullers in cinnamon and sugar. 

 How Accurate Is It?: I exchanged the brandy for vanilla extract as it's what I has on hand and fried in oil instead of lard (vegetarian.)

1856 Civil War Era Cruller Recipe


  1. They look and sound tasty; I have no idea that these were eaten at the time of the Civil War.

  2. I have yet to meet a deep fried food I didn't like, and I have a sweet tooth to boot so I'm drooling over these.


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