Munkki Are The Finnish Fried Doughnuts With Bold Cardamom Flavor

close up of May Day donuts cotaed in sugar
close up of May Day donuts cotaed in sugar - Dajra/Shutterstock

As a Nordic country, Finland is known for its incredibly harsh, long winters. Consequently, Finns welcome the onset of summer with a big celebration known as Vappu, or May Day. Similar to Mardis Gras or Carnaval, May Day is a time to eat, drink, and be merry. Munkki are fried, cardamom-dusted donuts that are always front and center on a May Day spread. Donuts are a favorite in most cultures because who doesn't love deep-fried dough? However, Finnish Munkki has two distinct ingredients that set them apart from the donuts you'd find in other nations: coarse cardamom and quark.

Quark is an ultra-rich dairy product with a flavor and texture somewhere between cottage cheese and Greek yogurt. It's a popular breakfast food for its creamy, thick texture, and mellow sour and salty flavors. Quark gives the dough more depth of flavor and a decadent density. Some recipes omit the quark, but all of them feature cardamom.

Cardamom is a popular baking spice, imparting a sweet flavor profile with notes of citrus and fresh mint and a smokey, warming finish. Finnish cardamom is a thicker, paste-like baking spice you use to infuse the dough. The sour quark brings out the citrus and herbal notes in the cardamom. You can also use it together with coarse sugar for a crunchy topping.

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How To Make Munkki And Flavorful Pairings

fresh Munkki with two glasses of Sima
fresh Munkki with two glasses of Sima - Books and peonies/Shutterstock

Making Munkki is similar to most conventional donuts; they involve yeast and various waiting periods to achieve the fluffy, yeasty dough. You can substitute quark for milk, sour cream, or Greek yogurt if you cannot find it at your local grocery store. Heat quark and water, or plain milk, before combining it with yeast. Once the yeast dissolves, you mix in sugar, butter, egg, flour, and cardamom.

The dough will rest for around 20 minutes before you roll it out, cut it into individual balls, and form them into doughnuts. After another 30-minute resting period, the doughnuts are ready to fry in a deep pan of hot neutral oil for two minutes per side. Upon fishing them out of the hot oil, you can dip them in coarse sugar or a mixture of sugar and cardamom. Another idea is to fry the dough balls without shaping them into a doughnut, so you can stuff them with fruit jelly or vanilla cream. You can also serve Munnki with jelly or make a cardamom and vanilla glaze instead of the sugar coating.

The Finns accompany Munkki with a fruity brew known as Sima that's similar to mead but uses a tart fruit like rhubarb or berries. If you'd rather have a non-alcoholic accompaniment, you could serve them with a fresh glass of hibiscus tea. Of course, coffee is always the perfect pairing for a fresh donut.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.