A Berliner Pfannkuchen (also called Berliner Ballen, Berliner, or Bismarck) is a predominantly German and Central European doughnut made from sweet yeast dough fried in fat or oil, with a marmalade or jam filling and usually icing, powdered sugar or conventional sugar on top. They are also sometimes available with a chocolate, champagne, custard, mocha, or advocaat filling, or with no filling at all. The filling is injected using a large syringe after cooking.
The terminology used to refer to this delicacy differs in various areas of Germany. While most areas call it Berliner (Ballen), residents of Berlin, Brandenburg and Saxony know them as Pfannkuchen, which in the rest of Germany generally means pancakes. In parts of southern and central Germany as well as in much of Austria, they are called Krapfen; in Hesse they are referred to as Kraeppel or Kreppel, or, in Palatinate, Fastnachtsküchelchen (literally: "carnival cakes"). In Italy, the name is Krafen or "Krapfen". In Slovenia, it's krof, in Croatia, Bosnia, and Serbia Krofne. In Poland they are known as pączki. in Hungary Fánk. All of these are essentially identical.
In English-speaking countries Berliner are usually known as doughnuts and are usually filled with jam. However, in South Australia Berliner or Kitchener bun is the more usual term and often have cut in half sideways to apply the filling, rather than injecting it. In the United States, whether filled with jam or custard, they are more commonly known as Bismarcks than Berliners, after the German Chancellor of the second half of the nineteenth century, Otto von Bismarck; when made in a rectangular shape, they are sometimes known as Long Johns. In the U.S., the jam-filled ones are often called jelly doughnuts, while the custard-filled variety usually also feature chocolate icing and are sometimes called Bavarian cream or Boston cream doughnuts (the latter name from its resemblance to Boston cream pie). The Boston cream doughnut has been designated the official state doughnut of Massachusetts. In the province of Manitoba, Canada, doughnuts with jelly fillings are also known as Jambusters.
Berliners are traditionally eaten to celebrate on New Year's Eve (Silvester) as well as the carnival holidays (Shrove Tuesday). A common practical joke is to secretly fill some Berliners with mustard instead of jam and serve them together with regular Berliners without telling anyone.
In Portugal, berliners are slightly bigger than their German counterparts. They are known as "bolas de Berlim" and the filling is always a yellow cream called "creme pasteleiro". The filling is inserted after a half length cut and is always visible. Regular sugar is used to sprinkle it. They can be found in almost every pastry shop in the country, as well as in South America where it's not only filled with custard (called "Crema pastelera"), but with jam (specially red ones) or manjar blanco.