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Apple, Cardamom and Custard Doughnuts Recipe from The Modern Spice Rack
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Apple, Cardamom and Custard Doughnuts Recipe from The Modern Spice Rack

Scandinavia has one of the highest consumption rates of cardamom outside of Asia and the Arab world. It is presented in the form of cakes, cookies and a famous knotted, sweetened bun named kardemummabullar. This doughnuts recipe is inspired by the pairing of an enriched dough with crushed cardamom, and presents itself in the form of a deep-fried fluffy doughnut. Spiked with a cardamom sugar, spiced apple sauce and perfectly wobbly custard, these weekend sweet treats will awaken nostalgia, and are definitely worth a little effort and a few hours of your time.

Extract from The Modern Spice Rack by Rachel Walker and Esther Clark (£22, Hardie Grant)

Takes: 2 hrs, plus 1 hr 30 mins rising and proving
Effort level: A weekend challenge
Serves 15


  • 130ml (4/2fl oz/1⁄2 cup) full-fat (whole) milk
  • 500g (1 lb 2 oz/4 cups) strong white bread flour
  • 70g (2 1⁄2 oz/1⁄3 cup) golden caster (superfine) sugar
  • 3⁄4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 × 7 g (1⁄4 oz) fast-action dried yeast
  • 3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
  • 120 g (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened and cubed
  • Vegetable oil, for oiling and deep-frying

For the custard:

  • 200 ml (7 fl oz/scant 1 cup) full-fat (whole) milk
  • 150 ml (5 fl oz/2⁄3 cup) double (heavy) cream
  • 1 vanilla pod (bean), halved lengthways and seeds scraped out
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 50 g (2 oz/scant 1⁄4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)

For the apple filling:

  • 2 large Bramley (cooking) apples (350 g/12 oz), peeled and cut into 5 mm (1⁄4 in) cubes
  • 80 g (3 oz/generous 1⁄3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 100 ml (3 1⁄2 fl oz/scant 1⁄2 cup) water
  • 12 cardamom pods, bashed

For the coating:

  • 150 g (5 oz/2⁄3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cardamom or the ground seeds of 6 cardamom pods


  1. To make the dough, pour the milk into a large saucepan and slowly heat over a low heat. Once it begins to steam, remove from the heat and pour into a measuring jug. If it has reduced, top up to 130 ml (41⁄2 fl oz/1⁄2 cup) with extra milk, then leave to cool until tepid.
  2. Add the flour to a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment and stir through the golden caster (superfine) sugar, salt and yeast with a spoon. Begin mixing on low speed to combine the dry ingredients, then add the tepid milk and eggs and keep mixing for 10 minutes, or until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Still mixing, gradually add cubes of the softened butter to the dough. When all the butter has been added, continue mixing for a further 5–6 minutes until the butter is well incorporated and the dough is sticky and stretchy.
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl, then transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  4. Lightly oil 2 large baking sheets. Divide the risen dough into 15 equal-sized pieces, weighing for accuracy, if you like (they should be about 62 g/2 oz each). Roll the dough pieces into balls and place them on the prepared baking sheets, spaced well apart. Cover with lightly oiled baking parchment or a light dish towel (if it’s too heavy, it will keep the dough from rising) and leave to prove in a warm place for 25–30 minutes until doubled in size.
  5. Line 1–2 large baking sheets with paper towels and set aside. Fill a medium-sized, heavy-based saucepan two-thirds full of vegetable oil and place over a low–medium heat, bringing the temperature up to 165°C (329°F) on a cooking thermometer (or test by adding a small piece of dough to the oil – if it sizzles and rises to the surface immediately, the temperature is correct). Working in batches of about 3 at a time, carefully lift the doughnuts and gently lower into the hot oil. Deep-fry each batch for 6 minutes, turning halfway through, until golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the prepared baking sheets while you cook the other batches. Leave to cool completely.
  6. For the custard, heat the milk, cream and vanilla seeds together in a saucepan over a low heat until just steaming. Whisk together the egg yolks and caster sugar in a large heatproof bowl, then sift in the cornflour and mix well until it forms a smooth paste. Add the milk slowly to the egg mixture, whisking constantly, then pour the custard back into the pan and bring to a simmer, whisking until thickened. Remove from the heat and leave to cool to room temperature. Once cooled, spoon into a piping (pastry) bag fitted with a metal tip. Set aside.
  7. For the apple filling, tip the chopped apples, caster sugar, water and cardamom pods into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and cook gently for 10–12 minutes until the apples are soft and broken down. Set aside to cool, then remove and discard the cardamom pods. Spoon into another piping bag fitted with a round piping nozzle and set aside.
  8. For the coating, mix together the caster sugar and ground cardamom in a shallow bowl, then roll the doughnuts in the sugar until lightly coated. Make a hole in the side of each doughnut with a metal skewer, then pipe a little of the apple filling into each doughnut, followed by the custard. Serve.

Extra ideas

  • Swap the cardamom for 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon in the apple sauce and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon in the sugar coating for a wintery spiced apple take on these doughnuts.
  • Easy cardamom, plum and ricotta cake – Preheat the oven to 170°C fan (340°F/gas 5). Grease the base and sides of a 20 cm (8 in) springform round cake tin (pan) with butter and line the base with a disc of baking parchment. Tip 250 g (9 oz) ricotta and 230 g (8 oz/1 cup) golden caster (superfine) sugar into a large bowl and beat together with an electric hand-held whisk for 5 minutes. Beat in 3 eggs, followed by 150 g (5 oz) melted and cooled unsalted butter. Fold in 180 g (6 oz/scant 11⁄2 cups) self-raising (self-rising) flour, 1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder, 1⁄2 teaspoon salt and the crushed seeds from 6 cardamom pods. Spoon into the prepared tin and press in 3–4 halved and pitted plums or apricots. Bake for 50–60 minutes until risen and golden brown. Leave to cool, then dust with icing (confectioners’) sugar.
Apple, Cardamom and Custard Doughnuts Recipe from The Modern Spice Rack
Apple, Cardamom and Custard Doughnuts Recipe from The Modern Spice Rack Extracted from The Modern Spice Rack by Rachel Walker and Esther Clark (£22, Hardie Grant)
Modern Spice rack

Rachel Walker was working on the food desk at the Sunday Times when she founded the award-winning RootedSpices in 2018, which sells single-origin and ethically-sourced spices.
Esther Clark trained and worked as a chef in Italy and Northern India. She now works as a freelance food/recipe writer and food stylist and her clients include: Guardian Feast, Sainsbury’s Magazine, Waitrose Food Magazine,Marks and Spencers, Ocado Magazine, the BBC and many more.

Apple, Cardamom and Custard Doughnuts Recipe from The Modern Spice Rack

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