You’re thinking, ‘Doughnut Week? Isn’t it doughnut life?’ Surprisingly for such a keen devourer, I’m not that doughnut-ty. Don’t get me wrong, I like them. Of course I like them. I have got a functioning mouth and soul. But I’m fussy, which for me is rare.
Regardless, I’ve gone out sampling loads of them. I’ve really taken one for the team. Poor, poor me.
As soon as my ‘challenge’ arose, as if by fate, I spotted a five-pack of Sainsbury’s Jam Doughnuts reduced to a mere 24p. Like ruddy sailors, they’d toughened round the edges from exposure to the elements. The batter was dense and bland, essentially a soggy, sweet bread. The sugar coating gave a nice crunch to the outside, but that’s because it’s sugar. The jam inside glowed. Saccharine, luminescent slick like 1980s Calpol, just far less delicious.
On my sister Hatty’s birthday I rocked up like a legend with a small sack of Budgens Chocolate Doughnuts. Five for £1. Thankfully, they were a hit.
The actual doughnut was still relatively mediocre, slightly too heavy with a lick of oiliness to the outside. The innards, however, were delightful: loads of silky liquid milk cocoa in there, oozing with a surprisingly subtle creaminess. Top marks, Budgens. These were made tricky to eat for laughing, though, after Hatty absent-mindedly offered, “Do you want to take a picture of my chocolate hole?”
My dearheart Mikey and I had a minging bank holiday drive recently, crawling up the M3 at none-miles-an-hour with a baby waggling his shout-pipes in the back. Ugh.
We bought a beautiful silver lining, though, in a three pack of Krispy Kremes.
There was an episode of Horizon where they said foods which are 50/50 fat and sugar are the absolute most desirable things in the world. I imagine yachts would have something to say about that. Anyway, the example of a perfect 50/50 item they gave was a plain, glazed ‘original’ Krispy Kreme. So that’s where we began.
It is a simple affair but that’s the magic of it. Just a bafflingly light dough (for something which can’t be fresh) with an almost crisp glaze. It’s like a cross between cake and a cloud. It starts dissolving in your hand before it’s even hit your drooling beak. They are sublime.
We went all decadent and tried some of the novelty jazzy flavours too. Mikey had the new ‘white chocolate and raspberry’ effort. He was giddy about it but I thought it looked prettier than its punch. Refrigerated white chocolate tastes of sweet nothing and the raspberry jam in the middle was glacky and garish.
I, however, had the limited-edition Reece’s Pieces one. It made us both weak kneed. The chocolate coating covered in chunks of Reece’s was nice enough, distinctively nutty and grainy. But oh! The centre was the best type of filth. It was peanut butter. The doughnut went instantly from a PG to an 18. No, actually, to a 32.
On the recommendation of many friends I visited Soho’s Crosstown. They just do doughnuts and coffee. The child-lady serving me was so cool she called me ‘love’ a lot. “Hello love!” Oh, hello. Seconds later: “What do you want then love?” Fine. That’s fine. Erm. Twenty more seconds later: “Do you know what you want yet love?” Mood Teeters. I tried a “Give me a minute please, there’s so many lovely things.” Which she followed with a “What are you ordering then love?” Our relationship was ruined forever.
I had a mini ‘coffee custard’, which was light and sweetly iced but with the most glorious, strong, rich latte middle. My baby drooled watching me wolf it. The big, more spectacular ones I bought to take home, though, were overblown and massively overpriced.
I chose a £3.50 ‘orange blossom’ with cardamom crumble and date jam. The citrus would have cut through the doughiness had I been able to really detect it. The cardamom, too, was borderline imaginary. There is subtlety and there is notable absence. I wanted to be slapped, not just moved slowly with a hand.
I also got a £3.50 ‘banana cream’ with sea salt caramel. It looked stunning: chocolate-flavoured dough covered in caramel. I love caramel and salt but they both eluded it. In the end it all tasted and really powerfully stank of was mashed banana. For the mother of a six-month-old that does the equivalent of someone saying they fancy your Dad.
My one regret during this survey of sorts is not finding a fairground-style fresh doughnut. A dunked-in-the-deep-fryer-in-front-of-you one. They’re the best of the best of the best of the… run out of words.
Except to say, happy ‘Doughnut Week’, you all.
Doughnut Week National Doughnut Week is a unique opportunity for bakers, cafes and coffee shops across the UK to raise funds for The Children’s Trust. You can find more info here.
Read more of Jess’s Hooverings here.