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Helena’s Secret Doughnuts

Buy real ginger. It looks like a knobby root thing. You can ask someone if you can’t figure it out. Not that fruiterer who always asks you if you want any melons. He’s disgusting. Right, now, nick one of those medicine-measuring thingies from work. I know they’re the only ones you can figure out as long as it’s in centilitres or whatever. So do it from that. OK, now grate it. Stop looking in the mirror on the extractor fan. You’re gorgeous, and if you don’t keep stirring the mix, it’s going to set solid and you’ll get ginger biscuits. OK, here it is. And the answer is, lime curd. Mrs Darlington’s, from Penrith. You’d never have guessed in a bazillion years.


900g plain flour plus additional for dusting
4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
11/2 tsp salt
11/2 tsp grated ginger
400g sugar
2 oz crystallized ginger, coarsely chopped
500g well-shaken buttermilk
60g unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
1 tbsp vegetable oil
45cl lime curd


Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 3/4 teaspoon grated ginger in a large bowl.

Whisk together 300g sugar and remaining 3/4 teaspoon grated ginger in a shallow bowl.

Pulse remaining 100g sugar with crystallized ginger in a food processor until ginger is finely chopped.

Transfer this to a bowl and whisk in buttermilk, butter and eggs until smooth. Add buttermilk mixture to flour mixture and stir until a dough forms (dough will be sticky).

Turn out dough on to a well-floured surface and knead gently just until it comes together, 10 to 12 times, then form into a ball.

Lightly dust work surface and dough with flour, then roll out dough into a 13-inch round (about 1/3 inch thick) with a floured rolling pin.

Cut out rounds with a floured cutter and transfer to a lighly floured baking sheet. Gather scraps and reroll, then cut out additional rounds. (Reroll only once.)

Heat oil in a wide heavy pot until a splash would result in third-degree burns.

Working in batches of seven or eight, carefully add rounds, one at a time, to oil and fry, turning over once, until golden brown, one and a half to two minutes in total per batch. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

Cool slightly, then dredge in ginger sugar.

Gently slice doughnuts in half and spoon lime curd on the bottom half; top with the second half of the doughnut.

Serve three or so to a plate, garnished with slices of crystallized ginger.