Mother’s Special Around The World
Chestnut Cardamom Milk

Chestnut Cardamom Milk

Cuisine: American, European


  • 3/4 cup cooked or roasted chestnuts approx. 8 or 9 whole chestnuts
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 cups of milk


  • Combine all the ingredients in a blender jar and blend everything until smooth.
  • Transfer it to a saucepan and let it simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  • Once it starts boiling, remove it from the flame and pour it into cups.
  • Serve immediately



Apricot & Pistachio Baklava with Orange-Cardamom Syrup Recipe

Apricot & Pistachio Baklava with Orange-Cardamom Syrup Recipe

Cuisine: Turkey

1-lb. “twin pack” phyllo dough (two 8-oz. packs, each containing about twenty 9×14-inch sheets)

For the filling:
12 oz. (2-1/2 cups) unsalted, shelled raw pistachios
12 oz. (2 cups, packed) dried apricots
1/2 cup granulated sugar
10 oz. (1-1/4 cups) unsalted butter
For the syrup:
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
2/3 cup orange juice (preferably freshly squeezed)
1-1/2 tsp. ground cardamom

Preparation: Thaw the phyllo overnight in the refrigerator. Then put the phyllo box on the counter to come to room temperature, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

Make the filling:
Put the pistachios, apricots, and sugar in a food processor. Process until the nuts and apricots are finely chopped (the largest should be the size of small dried lentils), 30 to 45 seconds. Set aside.

Assemble the baklava:
Unfold one pack of the phyllo sheets and stack them so that they lie flat on your work surface. Cover the top with plastic wrap, letting some excess plastic fall over all four edges. Dampen and wring out a kitchen towel and drape it on top of the plastic wrap; this will hold the plastic in place and prevent the phyllo from drying out.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Brush the bottom of a 9×13-inch metal pan (preferably with straight sides and a light-colour interior to prevent over-browning on the edges) with some of the butter. Remove a sheet of phyllo from the stack, re-cover the rest (be sure to cover the remaining sheets each time you remove a new one), and put the sheet in the bottom of the pan. Brush the sheet with some of the melted butter but don’t soak the phyllo (remember, you’ll have about 40 layers of buttered phyllo by the time you’re done). Repeat until you have layered and buttered about half the sheets from the first pack-about 10 sheets in all. If your pan has slightly angled sides, arrange the sheets so the excess falls on the same side of the pan and cut the extra off every few layers with a paring knife. Sprinkle about one-third of the filling evenly over the phyllo.

Repeat layering and buttering the remaining sheets from the first pack and sprinkle on another third of the filling. Open, unfold, and cover the second pack of phyllo. Layer and butter it as described above, sprinkling the remaining filling after layering about half the phyllo, and ending with a final layer of phyllo (you may not need all of the butter). Cover loosely and put the pan of baklava in the freezer for 30 minutes (this makes it much easier to cut the pastry).

Bake the baklava:
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.
Before baking, use a thin, sharp knife (I prefer serrated) and a gentle sawing motion to cut the baklava on the diagonal at 1-1/2-inch intervals in a diamond pattern. Try not to compress the pastry by pressing down on it with one hand while cutting with the other. Not only are you cutting serving portions, you are also cutting pathways for the flavoured syrup to permeate the pastry, so be sure to cut the pastry all the way to the bottom of the pan. If you have an electric carving knife, this is the perfect time to use it. Bake the baklava until golden, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack and let cool completely. Run a knife along the cut lines to help the syrup absorb evenly.

Make the syrup:
Put the sugar and orange juice in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the liquid is clear about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cardamom. Pour the syrup evenly over the entire surface of the baklava, allowing it to run down into the cut marks and along the sides of the pan. Allow the baklava to cool to room temperature before serving.

Make-Ahead Tips
The baklava is at its best about 24 hours after the syrup is added. It will keep at room temperature for up to 5 days, though the texture changes from flaky and crisp to more solid and crystallized as time goes by. Both textures are delicious and have their fans.



Persian Crepes with Cardamom Cream Recipe

Persian Crepes with Cardamom Cream Recipe

Cuisine: Iran


2 large oranges
1 x 300ml ctn double cream
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
4 frozen Creative Gourmet French Style Crepes
2 tablespoons honey
55g (1/3 cup) unsalted pistachio kernels, coarsely chopped


1) Remove base and top of each orange so it sits flat on the chopping board. Use a sharp knife to remove peel and white pith. Cut crossways into 1cm-thick slices.

2) Use a balloon whisk to whisk the cream, sugar and cardamom in a bowl until firm peaks form (do not over beat).

3) Heat crepes following packet directions.

4) Divide the crepes among serving plates. Arrange 4 orange slices on 1 half of each crepe. Drizzle over half the honey and sprinkle with half the pistachio. Fold crepes in half to enclose filling. Drizzle over the remaining honey and sprinkle with remaining pistachio. Top with the cream mixture to serve.


Variation: For Banana & cinnamon crepes, replace oranges with 3 bananas, peeled, thickly sliced. Replace the ground cardamom with 1 tsp ground cinnamon. Replace the pistachio kernels with 45g (1/3 cup) pecans, coarsely chopped.

Frozen crepes make this juicy dessert with oranges and pistachios a true cheat's sweet.


Cardamom Vatrushki

Cardamom Vatrushki

Cuisine: Russia


For the dough

  • 1 package (7 grams) of dry yeast
  • 2 cups (460 ml) milk, warmed to 105ºF
  • 4 Tbsp (60 ml) sugar, divided
  • 3 eggs and 2 egg yolks, divided
  • 2 Tbsp mayonnaise
  • 4 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 1 ⅓ lb (600 grams) of all-purpose flour, plus more flour as needed
  • ½ tsp of salt

For the filling:

  • ¼ cup (60 ml) heavy cream
  • 1 tsp cardamom seeds, crushed with a mortar and pestle
  • 1 lb (500 grams) tvorog or farmer’s cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 Tbsp sugar



1) Mix the dry yeast with 2 Tbsp of sugar together in a non-reactive bowl. Add the warmed milk and whisk gently to combine. Cover and put in a warm place with no drafts for 15-20 minutes until the mixture is foaming.

2) Whisk together 3 eggs with the mayonnaise, oil, vanilla, nutmeg, salt and remaining sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add in a cup of the flour and whisk until the mixture is smooth.

3) Switch to the paddle attachment of your mixer or use a spatula for the next step. Add the proofed yeast and milk mixture to the dough and combine until incorporated.

4) Switch to the dough hook of your standing mixer or knead the dough by hand. Add the flour in half-cup increments. The dough will be sticky until it takes enough flour to become smoother and be more elastic. If the dough is still sticky, add more flour in smaller increments of 1-2 Tbsp at a time.

5) When the dough pulls away from the hook, turn it out onto a floured surface and knead with your hands for a few moments; it will come together as you do, and form itself into a pliant, smooth ball of dough that does not stick to your fingers. Add small amounts of flour as needed.

6) Oil a large bowl and shape the dough into a round circle, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set it in a warm place to rise until it is doubled in size. This can take anywhere from 30 minutes in a proofing box to 60 minutes on your countertop.

7) While the dough is rising, make the filling.

8) Warm the cream to 100ºF-105ºF. Mix the crushed cardamom seeds into the cream and let it sit for 10 minutes. Combine the infused cream with the remaining ingredients in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. I find using a piping bag with a large tip useful for filling the vatrushki, but this is optional. Chill the mixture until you are ready to fill the vatrushki.

9) When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down a few times, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into three equal parts. Shape each part into a log, then cut each log into 4 pieces. Shape each piece into a round ball by pulling the edges to the bottom and pinching them. Set the balls, seam side down on a greased baking sheet and allow them to rise for 20-30 minutes.

10) Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC).

11) Press the balls down with your hand, then dip the bottom of a glass or jar into flour and press it into the dough to create a well for the filling. The dough will contract, and you can use your fingers to help shape the vatrushka. Fill the well with the tvorog filling.

12) Whisk the remaining egg yolks together and brush the sides of the vatrushki with the mixture.

13) Bake the vatrushki for 20 minutes until they are golden and puffy.


Cardamom Kheer

Cardamom Kheer

Cuisine: Russia


½ cup + 1 tbsp basmati rice

1 tsp ground cardamom

½ tsp ground cinnamon

Scant ½ cup superfine sugar, plus 1 tbsp to decorate

3 cups whole milk, plus extra if needed

⅔ cup heavy cream

3 tbsp unsalted pistachios

1½ tbsp dried edible flowers (such as marigolds, roses, lavender)


1) Place the rice, spices, sugar, milk, and cream in a large saucepan and set over medium-low heat. Bring to the boil—but watch it doesn’t boil over—then turn the heat down to a whisper and cook for about 30 minutes, stirring fairly frequently to make sure the rice doesn’t stick and burn. If the mixture is getting too dry, add more milk, a little at a time. When the rice is nearly done, it will start to bubble and burp more furiously and will need more attention from you. When the rice is tender (i.e. there’s no chalkiness in the center), take it off the heat and spoon it into a serving bowl. Allow to cool, then cover and chill in the fridge until cold.

2) Just before serving, grind the remaining tablespoon of sugar, the pistachios, and edible flowers as finely as you can, using a mortar and pestle or electric spice grinder. Sprinkle over the top, and serve.



Banana, coconut & cardamom bread

Banana, coconut & cardamom bread

Cuisine: UK


  • 125g coconut oil or butter, plus extra for the tin
  • 2 large very ripe bananas
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 125g golden caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp coconut yogurt or natural yogurt, plus extra to serve
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • seeds from 12 cardamom pods, crushed


1) Heat the oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Butter a 900g loaf tin and line with a long strip of baking parchment. Melt the coconut oil or butter in a pan or the microwave. Mash the bananas and add the oil or butter, eggs, sugar and yogurt.

2) Combine the flour, baking powder, crushed cardamom and a pinch of salt in a bowl. Add the wet ingredients and whisk to a smooth batter. Pour into the tin and bake for 1 hr 10 mins until golden and risen. Insert a skewer into the centre of the cake to make sure it’s cooked – it should come out with a few crumbs but no wet cake mixture. If needed, return the cake to the oven for another 5-10 mins, then check again, and keep going until it’s cooked. Serve slightly warm. Once cool, keep in a tin for up to five days.



Moroccan Orange & Cardamom Cake

Moroccan Orange & Cardamom Cake

Cuisine: Morocco


  • 2 oranges, scrubbed
  • seeds of 6 green cardamom pods, crushed
  • 225g pack xylitol (we used Total Sweet)
  • 6 large eggs
  • 200g pack of ground almonds
  • 50g polenta
  • 25g self-raising flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1tbsp flaked almonds
  • Greek yogurt or cream, to serve



1) Put the whole oranges in a pan, cover with water and boil, covered, for 1 hr until a knife easily pierces them. If the oranges won’t stay under the water, place a small saucepan lid directly on top to keep them submerged. Remove the oranges from the water and cool, then quarter and remove any seeds and obvious pith where the stalk was. Blitz the oranges to a rough purée with a hand blender or in a food processor and put in a large bowl.

2) Heat oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3 and line the base and sides of a 21cm loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment. Beat the cardamom, xylitol and eggs into the orange purée, then mix the ground almonds with the polenta, flour and baking powder, and fold in until well blended. Scrape the mixture into the tin, level the top and bake for 40 mins. 

3) After 40 minutes, scatter over the almonds, quickly return to the oven and bake 20-25 mins more until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from the tin and leave to cool. Serve sliced as a cake, or with Greek yogurt or cream as a dessert.

Leave a comment