May Day "Munkki" - Cardamom Doughnuts

May Day Donuts
May Day Donuts. Kristina Vanni
  • 85 mins
  • Prep: 75 mins,
  • Cook: 10 mins
  • Yield: 16 doughnuts (16 servings)
Ratings (10)

Winter has come to an end, the sun is shining and the weather is just starting to get warmer.  It's time to celebrate Spring!  

May Day (May 1st) marks the beginning of Spring in many parts of the Northern Hemisphere. Of course, where there are celebrations, there is always food!  These cardamom doughnuts, known as "Munkki" in Finnish are a cornerstone of my family's May Day festivities.   

When I tell you they are hands down the BEST doughnuts I have ever tasted, it is the absolute truth. There are two secrets to this recipe. The first, is making sure you are using the best quality ground cardamom.  In Finland, their ground cardamom tends to be much coarser than the fine powder we tend to find in American grocery stores. This coarsely ground cardamom not only imparts an incredible flavor to any recipe, but offers beautiful specks of color throughout the recipe.  The best brand is called "Salliselta"and it is sold in long, thin tubes.  The second secret is the addition of quark to the batter. Quark is a fresh dairy product, commonly used in German-speaking countries as well as Northern Europe.  It is similar to a very thick Greek yogurt, or maybe a smoother version of cottage cheese. You can find quark at better grocery stores in the US, as it is gaining popularity because of its high-protein health benefits.  

Enjoy these Munkki cardamom doughnuts with a cold glass of Sima and it's a party!

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup quark
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 cube /57 grams yeast (cake variety, fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cardamom
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups flour (all-purpose, divided use)
  • 1/4 cup butter (softened)
  • 1 quart canola (for frying)
  • Garnish: 3/4 cup sugar

How to Make It

In a small pan, combine quark and water and heat until lukewarm. (About 100 degrees.)

In a large bowl, combine quark mixture with yeast.  Stir to dissolve and combine.  Add salt, sugar, cardamom, egg and 2 cups of flour.  Mix well, then add an additional 1-1/3 cup of flour and the softened butter. Allow dough to rest for 20 minutes.   

Sprinkle remaining 2/3 cup of flour onto work surface.  Turn out the doughnut batter onto the floured surface and divide the dough into 16 balls.

  Stretch to form a hole in the center to make the doughnuts.  Place formed doughnuts on a cookie sheet and allow to rest again for 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, fill a large shallow pan with canola oil at least 2-inches deep. Heat oil over medium-high heat until it reaches 350 degrees F. 

Fry the doughnuts 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, remove the doughnuts from the hot oil and drain on paper towels.  Once they have cooled slightly, toss with sugar and serve immediately.