A cruller (or Twister) is a cake-type doughnut cooked by deep-frying. It is sometimes topped with plain powdered sugar; powdered sugar mixed with cinnamon; or icing. It is usually twisted (rather than round) in shape and unraised. The word comes from early 19th century Dutch kruller, from krullen "to curl". Crullers are traditionally eaten in Germany and some other European countries on Shrove Tuesday, to use up fat before Lent.
It is most commonly found in Canada, New England and the Mid-Atlantic and North Central states of the USA, but it is also common in California.
A French cruller is a doughnut made from choux pastry. They are usually shaped like a fluted ring and have a light airy texture. Sometimes these are also simply known as "crullers", but they have little resemblance to the other kind of cruller other than that they are both types of doughnuts.
In 2003, the Dunkin' Donuts chain of doughnut shops stopped carrying traditional crullers, claiming that the hand-shaped treats were too labor-intensive, and couldn't be simulated with new machines for mixing doughnut batter.
Tim Hortons, and Krispy Kreme still sell the Cruller, while Dunkin' Donuts only carries the French Cruller. In place of the traditional cruller, Dunkin' Donuts now sells several variations of a substitute product it calls a "cake stick" which is a simplified, machine-made version of the more elaborately twisted hand-made variety.
The term "Chinese cruller" is occasionally applied to the youtiao, a similar-looking fried dough food eaten in East and Southeast Asia.
In popular culture
- The use of the cruller as a comedic gag was originated March 29, 1967 by the "Kimball Gets Fired" episode of Green Acres. In this episode, United States Department of Agriculture county agent Hank Kimball loses his financial security and his chance to start a family, in part because he gets fired from his job and partly because he spends his life savings on crullers to go with the coffee served by the boss who fired him (played by the late Parley Baer, who also played the Mayor on The Andy Griffith Show and Chester on the original Gunsmoke).
- In an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer ("Once More, With Feeling"), the character Xander paraphrases the movie Magnolia with the line "Respect the cruller, and tame the donut."
- In an episode of Friends ("The One Where Joey Loses His Insurance") Chandler asks Joey, "Hey, will you grab me a cruller?".
- Crullers were served by Aunt Em in The Wizard of Oz.
- In an episode of Daria ("Through a Lens Darkly"), Jane refers to Daria as a "twisted little cruller".
- In an episode of US Acres ("Unidentified Flying Orson"), Orson Pig becomes hysterical, ranting about aliens appearing in the forms of "crullers, croissants and bagels".
- In the film Wayne's World, Wayne orders "coffee and crullers" as a hangover cure for a "partied-out" friend.
- The comic strip Get Fuzzy noted the demise of crullers at Dunkin' Donuts several times.
- The comic series, Common Grounds, was originally published as the mini-comic, Holey Crullers, centering on a chain of doughnut shops called Holey Crullers (i.e., crullers with holes in them).
- The video game Psychonauts, Cruller is the last name of the demented Ford Cruller who suffers from problems with multiple personalities—his last name probably meant to evoke his twisted nature, like the twisted dough of a cruller.
- The sixteenth episode of Red vs. Blue is titled "A Slightly Crueller Cruller", in reference to the character Donut's new armor color: pink.