Rose and pistachio are an underrated power couple (at least in American cooking) that might possibly be better than the classic peanut butter and jelly combo. Yup, I said it. Fight me. One bite of these rose pistachio doughnuts and you’ll understand exactly why I feel that way. To prove my point, I pulverized fresh, shelled pistachios are pulverized into a flour and worked into the batter with cardamom and rosewater. Once they cooled, I coated the baked cake doughnuts in a subtly sweet, baker-miller-pink rose glaze and dusted it with ground pistachios and fresh rose petals. Now you’re getting it.
The inspiration for these pistachio rose doughnuts comes from my Middle Eastern background, specifically Syrian and Lebanese. Persians, Indians, and Middle Easterners are known for cooking with rose and rosewater, which you might only associate with Turkish Delight and that’s OK. The starchy sweet, also known as lokum, usually accompanies coffee. Although I love it and respect it, I prefer to have my coffee with doughnuts. You, too, can add the sweet scent of rose to your morning with this baked doughnut recipe.
Some of the ingredients might sound foreign to you if you’re not used to Middle Eastern food, but I promise they’re not hard to find. Rosewater and cardamom powder are sold at specialty markets, and sometimes available at nationwide grocery stores like Whole Foods. Look for fresh edible rose petals at your local farmer’s market, or order them online with overnight shipping from Gourmet Sweet Botanicals or Marx Foods. But do not pass over this recipe if you don’t have fresh rose petals on hand. The rose flavor mostly comes from rosewater; the petals are just a drop dead gorgeous garnish, so you could live without it.
P.S. These cake doughnuts taste much, much better a day later once the icing has seeped into the dough.
P.S.S. If you leave the doughnuts out to sit overnight, the rose petals will dry out and look even prettier than before.
For the doughnuts
½ cup raw pistachios
1 ½ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cardamom powder
¼ cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon rosewater
3 tablespoons pistachio oil
2 drops green food coloring (optional)
For the glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
½ teaspoon rosewater
Red food coloring (optional)
Fresh edible rose petals, for garnish
Pistachios, for garnish
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 350°F.
Pulse pistachios in a food processor until chopped, about 1 minute. Process in 30-second intervals until finely ground resembling a dry, gritty flour. Reserve 1 tablespoon for sprinkling over the icing.
In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the ground pistachio, flour, baking powder, baking soda, cardamom powder, and salt. Set aside.
Using a stand mixer or a hand mixer on low speed, cream the brown and granulated sugars with the egg. Add the Greek yogurt and mix some more.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Slowly add rosewater, while stirring on a low speed and drizzle in the oil. Optional: Deepen the batter’s color by adding a drop or two of green food coloring.
Spray a 12-cavity doughnut pan with cooking oil. Scoop the batter into a large sealable plastic bag and cut a hole on one of the bottom corners to form a makeshift “piping bag.” Fill each mold three-quarters of the way.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven. Place the doughnuts on a wire rack and let them cool completely.
To make the glaze, whisk together powdered sugar, milk, and rosewater in a small bowl. Add a drop or two of red food coloring for a baby pink shade.
Dunk each doughnut down into the bowl of icing, twisting and turning to form a thick, even layer. Sprinkle with reserved ground pistachios and fresh rose petals. Allow the glaze to set before serving.