Whatever happened to spelling it doughnut? Maybe I started off that way due to my linguistically picky mother. She, an Italian, seized up in horror whenever a restaurant worker dropped the last syllable of mozzarella, prosciutto, etc. No shortcuts or slang for Mom. But today I submit to popular culture and use just plain “donut,” although I see plenty of both spellings out there. But you never heard of a “croughnut,” did you?
Now, about donuts. The first thing that comes to me is the difference between cake donuts and raised (or “yeast”) donuts. You can read about this here. Dunkers will likely favor the more solid cake donuts, which are sturdier. I remember a period when my father, who loved to cook, went on a donut making jag, so for a while there, we had our fill. He was a dunker, so cake style it was. But I’m not a dunker.
So I favor yeast, attracted by the contrast between a slightly crisp and very delicate exterior and the pillow-y soft interior. While I don’t mind a cake donut right from the fryer, it’s no contest for me, the light and airy ones win out every time. That means I’m not a fan of fall’s popular cider donuts, which is nearly un-American I know. Whenever I try one, unless it’s still quite warm, it seems heavy and kind of dry, since I’m not dunking it. But I can understand either choice, and during my father’s donut phase, my brother and I hovered by his elbow near the kettle to get them hot and fresh.
You can read all about donuts on Wikipedia, and see all the books out there on Amazon. I have The Donut Book and enjoy reading through it as it is packed with donut history and lore, besides having recipes. The author, “Donut Princess” grandfather who invented the donut-making machine and founded the once popular chain of Mayflower Doughnut shops.
While I’d like to brag that I’ve been making my own donuts, I can’t. And, in spite of my love of sweets, I sail right past the Dunkin’ Donut stand just inside the doors of Montgomery Shoprite, since I’m not usually in the mood during the day. I know donuts are a breakfast thing, but to me it’s dessert, plain and simple. If I ate a sweet donut for breakfast, I’d be in a sugar-induced orbit for hours. Not fun.
Anyway, I’m holding out for The Gingered Peach in Lawrenceville to get their donut-making equipment set up (and it looks like they’ll be spelling it the old fashioned way, doughnut.)
Meanwhile, here are some links to nice-sounding recipes for the home cook:
Classic Glazed Doughnut recipe created especially for Epicurious.
The Greatest Homemade Donut Recipes You’ll Ever Find. on HuffingtonPost.com. (OMG the Blackberry Jam & Custard!)
Another nice collection from Food52.com. (Check out the maple meringue.)