Doughnuts (Krapfen) with Elderflower and Lemon Balm Infused Custard

Doughnuts with elderflower custard

Krapfen is an Austrian recipe and this type of deep fried sweet dough is basically what we normally call doughnuts. Being born and raised in Trieste, Italy, a North-Eastern town with a strong Austrian heritage, krapfen bring back lovely childhood memories. Funnily enough, as a kid I would only eat apricot jam filled doughnuts and refused to eat the custard filled ones. Years later, I discovered how much I had been missing out on when I first had a taste of custard krapfen! During a foraging walk I picked elderflower and lemon balm, which give a wonderful aroma to custard.

This recipe makes 16 doughnuts.

The original recipe called for butter, which I replaced with yogurt and oil.


For the doughnuts:

250 gr all purpose flour

12 gr yeast

125 ml milk

25 gr sugar

2 gr salt

40 gr plain Greek yoghurt

20 gr vegetable oil

2 egg yolks

grated peel of 1 lemon

vegetable oil for frying

cookie cutter

For the custard:

2 egg yolks

50 gr sugar

20 gr corn starch

250 ml milk

1 head of elderflower

3 lemon balm tops


Prepare the doughnuts dough by activating the yeast in a little warm water for 15 minutes: simply add water to the yeast in a mug and wait until it foams.

Mix together the salt, sugar, flour and lemon peel, then add the yeast and the milk at room temperature little by little, the yogurt and oil until you get a shiny and elastic dough.

Cover the dough with cling film and leave it to rise for two hours.

On a floured surface, roll out the dough into 3 mm thickness and cut to size with a cookie cutter or a mug. Leave the discs, covered with a kitchen towel, to rise for another hour.

In the meantime, prepare the custard.

In a pan, warm up the milk on a medium heat and before it starts boiling add the lemon grass and elderflower. Turn off the heat and let the aromatic herbs infuse for at least 3 minutes. Remove the herbs.

Whisk the egg yolks and the sugar together until it gets paler and glossy, add the corn starch and then the infused warm milk, little by little, until incorporated. Pour the mixture into a pan and let the custard simmer gently on a low heat for 3 minutes until it thickens, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. It should coat the spoon when it’s ready. Turn off the heat and leave it to cool.

Heat the vegetable oil and fry the doughnut discs two or three at a time depending on the size of your pan. Cook one side for one minute or less, turn over and cook for a further one minute. The doughnuts should look a nice caramel brown on each side with a paler ring around the middle.

Once all the doughnuts are cooked and have cooled, make a small cut in the middle where the pale ring is and add a teaspoon of custard. Sprinkle with sugar if you like.

And now let’s walk those doughnuts off!
Strictly Walk Slimmer book:

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