Growing up, donuts were not very high on my list of go-to sweets. I never found anything particularly exciting about the sickeningly sweet taste of Duncan Donuts or Krispy Kreams. So when I first began my career as a pastry chef, donuts were not really on my radar. That is until I experienced the Curry Sugar Donut.
While working for Chef Kierin Baldwin at The Dutch in New York, I was introduced to her brilliant creation; a hot yeasty brioche donut rolled in a mixture of sugar, cinnamon and curry! It was the best dessert I had ever tasted. She served them on the brunch menu by themselves, as well as on her dessert menu, paired with butterscotch pudding and cashew brittle. It was a perfect combination.
So once I was developing my own dessert menus, I knew this tasty obsession had to make an appearance. My first version debuted on my menu at Shorebreak Lodge last summer, paired with salted caramel and pickled strawberry jam.
The tang of the jam and the salty sweetness from the caramel were the perfect foil for the curry and cinnamon.
I later did a Palm fruit variation where the dough had banana, dates and coconut mixed in. I also tried them out with another of my favorite flavor combos- peanut butter & old bay! This version was rolled in old bay sugar and served with warm peanut butter sauce. It may sound out of the box, but trust me, it works!
When I started at Blue Moon last fall, I was excited to bring the curry sugar donut with me, and I quickly put it on the brunch menu. It went over well, so it was time for more donut experimenting!
Both for Christmas Eve Dinner and New Years Day brunch I served a version topped with peanut butter fluff and pickled strawberry jam.
With the new year came new ideas. On our brunch menu I started offering both a salted caramel dipped donut and a vanilla bourbon glazed donut dipped in raw sugar.
In February, I had the privilege of eating at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in Miami, and sampled some of Chef Hedy Goldsmith’s amazing desserts. This included her Buttermilk Donuts served with a lemon cream-sickle pot de creme and fresh ricotta. This was another life changing dessert for me. The combo of a hot fluffy chewy donut with the silky smooth tang of the lemon and the creamy saltiness of the ricotta was nothing short of perfect. It also reminded me of Chef Kierin’s combo of hot donut with creamy pudding.
With new inspiration, I created this brunch entree:
Buttermilk & Brioche Donuts served with a blood orange-citrus pot de creme and fresh ricotta with dried blueberry compote.
Soon after, for Liz’s Asian Tasting Tuesday menu I came up with this:
Black Sesame Brioche Donuts with lemon pot de creme and strawberry tahini cheesecake cream. It also paid homage to another of my favorite flavor combos, strawberry and sesame, which I was introduced to while working at Momofuku Milk Bar.
Since then, the buttermilk donuts with elderflower citrus pot de creme and toasted almonds, has made regular appearances on our tasting Tuesday menu.
My donut obsession has always revolved around the fluffy yeasty variety but I have recently ventured into the world of cake donuts. Currently on my dessert menu-
Rosemary Buttermilk Cake Donuts with a Honey Grapefruit Glaze, citrus-elderflower pot de creme, mascarpone, and candied cashews.
The sky is the limit when it comes to me and donuts. Next up, something chocolate! We will see what I come up with . . .