Saffron Cardamom Doughnuts with Pistachio

Recipe From What's For Lunch, Honey?

Yeast Doughnuts:

Preparation time:

Hands on prep time - 25 minutes

Rising time - 1.5 hours total

Cooking time - 12 minutes

Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size


360 ml milk

70 gm butter

14 gm active dry yeast (2 pkgs.)

80 ml warm water (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)

2 large eggs, beaten

55 gm white granulated sugar

1.5 teaspoon table salt

1 teaspoon cardamom, ground

1/2 teaspoon saffron strands, crushed

650 gm all purpose flour + extra for dusting surface

Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)

Powdered Sugar Maple Glaze:

480 ml powdered (Icing) sugar

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons milk

Pistachios, finely chopped

Additional powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the butter. (Make sure the butter is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.) Add the crushed saffron strands and let steep.
  2. Place the butter in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and butter mixture, first making sure the milk-saffron and butter mixture has cooled to lukewarm.
  4. Add the eggs, sugar, salt, cardamom, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
  5. Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.
  6. Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.
  7. I decided to use my hands and knead the dough. It is very sticky to start with but the more you knead the more the dough comes together into a lovely, shiny and smooth ball.
  8. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
  9. On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
  10. Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.
  11. Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
  12. Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
  13. Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired.

Glaze Directions:

  1. Whisk powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 2 tablespoons milk to blend. Whisk to a medium thick glaze.
  2. Can be made up to 3 hours ahead.
  3. Add doughnut holes to bowl of powdered sugar and toss to coat. Dust some doughnuts with powdered sugar.
  4. Spread doughnuts on 1 side with powdered sugar maple glaze and sprinkle with pistachios.
  5. Arrange doughnuts, glazed side up, on racks. Let stand until glaze sets, at least 30 minutes.

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