The origin of the Berliners in Portugal
Berliners can be found in any café in Lisbon, stuffed with multiple flavors but they are especially famous at the beaches, where the sellers shout “Look at the berliner!”. Its origins, though, are not quite from Lisbon, nor Portuguese, by the way.
In the Second World War one of the jewish families that fled from Germany to Portugal, was the Davishon family. The mother started to cook a recipe that she had learned in Germany: a fried sweet flour dough with sugar and a sweet filling. It was the berliner, Berliner Pfannkuchen in its original (Berlin cake pan).
This is the story as told in the book “Judeus em Portugal durante a Segunda Guerra Mundial” by Irene Flunser Pimentel, a Portuguese historian. She tells what happened afterwards: with the heat, the beaches of Lisbon got crowded with jewish refugees, who ate this German delicacy.
With the rising popularity of the berliners, the recipe was changed. The berliner is traditionally stuffed with a yellow baker’s cream (made from eggs), even though now there are more variations: chocolate, hazelnut, red berries, coconut, lemon... However, the original version, imported from Germany, would be a stuffing of fruit’s jam, such as strawberry or red berries, just like Mrs. Davidshon used to bake.