Whole Lotta Rosie (or…The Hole In The Doughnut)

So I was going to write this blog about losing one of the top 5 worst jobs I’ve ever had. And I was probably going to say some things that I shouldn’t say. But everything happens for a reason and I’m lucky to be away from the place! So I’m letting that one go.

Then I thought about writing this piece about the really awesome Christmas I had with my family. It was the first Christmas we’ve all spent together since 2001. And to be honest it was the first Christmas dinner I’ve ever cooked. With a great disdain for turkey, and for all things traditional, I conjured up an Italian feast for 8 that would’ve comfortably fed about 23.

In fact I did write that piece. Then I realized it was less about food and more about what I think of the watering down of this specifically Christian holiday, and the use of the word “holiday” instead of “Christmas”.

So I came up with a nice story about doughnuts!

I helped out a buddy (who I swore I’d never work with again) with a Christmas party catering this year. Fact is he was banned from the place and called me in at the last minute, but that’s not what this is about. He had gone out this little bakery to buy mini desserts for the event, and what he brought back were some of the most amazing little delights that have passed across my palate–doughnut holes!

I was raised in North Carolina, home of Krispy Kreme, and I don’t want to hear about anything else. Dunkin’ be damned. But somehow doughnuts have become my greatest obsession over this last month or six weeks. Now my buddy Unkle Chef just returned from New England with the story of some damned doughnut mecca he went to in Massachusetts. You can read all about that on his blog, but this is my story.

There’s this little bakery here in Charlotte, on Park Road, called Suarez Bakery. I’m 41 and can’t remember that bakery ever not being there, although it hasn’t always been Suarez. It was a Federal Bakeshop when I was a kid, and I never went in but I remember the wedding cake in the window. I think the same one is still there. So I just recently got turned on to this place.

You walk into a bakery storefront that is probably twice the size it needs to be; cases filled with all the stuff you would expect in a retail bakery in the south. Cupcakes, cookies, cream horns, novelties for the kids…and doughnuts. Not a large selection mind you. Glazed doughnuts, doughnut holes, and Texas doughnuts (glazed doughnuts the size of hubcaps with the hole spectacularly resting on top…package deal). They are absolutely amazing for a shop that doesn’t really “do” doughnuts as a focal point.

Today was a rainy day, much like the last 6 have been, and I stopped in after a job interview to pick up a couple dozen holes to take home. Some bitch had just been in and bought all but five of them. Damn it!

Dissappointed I drove home, went straight to the computer, and started looking up doughnut batter recipes. I said batter, not dough. See at Krispy Kreme you used to be able to watch the doughnuts being made. That was the big gimmick at KK before they stupidly sold out to the mainstream corporate demons and expanded more quickly than the market could support them. Now they’re all but closed up here in Charlotte at least.

Hot & Now! When those words are lit up in green and red neon along the front of the store you can watch them mix the batter, drop the soft dough onto trays, and put them in huge rotating-shelf proof boxes to rise. After 20 minutes or so they drop the doughnuts into this lazy-river style trough of sizzling oil. Halfway down the line a little paddle comes up out of the oil and flips them, and at the end they’re flipped again onto a wire conveyor. As they round the bend for the home stretch the doughnuts glide under a silky curtain of vanilla flavored sugar glaze, and then right to the box and into the hands of lusting customers.

You can watch it all right here… Krispy Kreme on YouTube

You can easily down a half-dozen of those suckers before you realize what happened. The glaze doesn’t even set up if you do it right, and you need a stack of napkins and a garden hose before you can go to your car. They just kind of dissolve in your mouth and you don’t know it until you come up for milk. This is what GQ Magazine called “The Appalachian love child of the soufflé and croissant”, and this is what I wanted.

So I found this recipe that turned out not being batter, but a very light dough that claimed to mimic Krispy Kremes.

Here’s a link to the one I used…Doughnut Recipe

Texturally they ain’t Krispy Kreme, but with the right amount of vanilla in the glaze they’re actually pretty close flavorwise. The recipe says it makes 2-3 dozen. I think I got about 640 from the looks of things, and the feeling I have in my tummy some 8 hours later.

Maybe next I’ll write a blog about the dangers of obsession.