Doughnut Smackdown

For those of you who might not be totally up-to-date on your doughnut knowledge, there are many different types.  Yeast, cake, glazed, jelly-filled, crullers…those are just the tip of the deliciously-fried iceberg.  There are also different cultural connotations, histories, and traditions associated with most of these tasty tidbits. From the German Berliner to the Jewish sufganiyah, somehow every nation has come up with their own version. Thank God, because damn are they tasty.

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Today I celebrate my return to L’Americaine Gourmande after an inexcusably long hiatus with some truly “gourmande” behavior. We’re talking gluttony here, people. Polish-style.

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My new neighborhood of Greenpoint is, in a word, Polish. Aptekas line up next to pierogi-filled grocery stores sandwiched between restaurants smelling of stuffed cabbage. Which is decidedly a good thing. The best part about this neighborhood, though, is its bakeries. During my morning walk to the subway I’m accompanied by wafts of baking sweet doughs, smelling of yeast and grease and general goodness.  And obviously the cornerstone — the end-all-be-all — of bakeries is doughnuts. Okay, maybe not, but in my world it is close to the truth.  Being the person I am and being terrible at making choices, within a week I’d tried all the paczi (Polish jelly-filled doughnuts) within a 10 block radius. I wish I were lying. Okay no I don’t.

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So the next logical step was a taste test. A thorough, noted-on-paper, photographed taste test. So here it is.  And there’s a winner.

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STAR BAKERY! Not only is its name cheery, its exterior friendly and pleasantly antique, and it’s doughnuts really f#$*ing amazing. The dough is soft with a perfectly browned exterior, draped in a thin, sweet glaze. The jam is a classic grape, pleasantly reminiscent of PB&J’s of yore. They’re the perfect size to eat on the way to the subway , leaving a pair of sticky hands in their wake, and they cost one dollar exactly. Let’s just say the lady behind the counter recognizes me now.

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Three cheers for Polish doughnuts! Who knew jelly, grease and flour could be so, so tasty together. Oh right, everybody.

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