Sunday, April 18, 2010

Four Boston Cream Enter, One Boston Cream Leave.

I feel like a lot of my entries have been starting like this, but Albany Jane invited me to a Boston Cream Doughnut tasting.  I brought Elizabeth.  I could go into how ridiculously happy being invited to an event such as this made me, but really - I am not much for gushing.  No.  Not at all.

So this is how I spent my Saturday morning:  I got to meet Fussy D and his adorable spawn (codename: Tangy) and sit and eat doughnuts with people who love food.  Then after we were done we sat and talked about more food.  So.  Um.  Pretty much a morning filled with perfection like the doughnuts before us were filled with creamy goodness and ready to be ingested. (See what I did there?)

Let's begin.  The contestants:

Dunkin's, Bella Napoli, Schuyler Bakery and The Cookie Factory

We lined 'em up...

and sliced them open.

Then we did my favorite thing to do.  Judged Them.

Here's a shot of me, judging the crap out of some doughnuts.

I made a whole Judgey McJudgersons listy type thing to keep track and try to be official.

Now, Boston Cream doughnuts are complicated so you have to think about a lot of things when judging.  I decided to note Frosting, Cake, Filling, then I added the category Chew because one kind had such a different texture.  As I was eating and taking notes (we were all solemn and kind of quiet during parts of the judging, then one of us would make a remark like, "Does A taste like it has chemicals in it?"  or "Do you taste ANYTHING vanilla in the cream in D?" and we would explode into conversation, but a lot of the time we were hunched over, writing and deciding and thinking and munching.

This is what I realized during my judging.  I didn't really taste anything THAT different in all of them.  The creams were similar, the frosting was similar, the cakiness was similar.  Sometimes the difference was very, very small.  I picked the Dunkin Donuts one out immediately, mostly because I have probably shoved at least seven hundred into my mouth in my lifetime (Most times it goes like this: "Are these donuts? Are we allowed to take one?  OOOOH Boston Cream!!!"  Yoink!), but also because it looked the most uniform.  The rest had a distinct homemade style to them.  Besides that though, almost all the frostings tasted like chocolatEY (not chocolate, chocolatEY) cake frosting, and the cream was pretty velvety and vanilla puddingish.  The cake is where I got thrown off.  The first one I tried had a very different texture than the other three.  It was chewier, more like bread - dessert bread, and had bigger air pockets throughout.  It was heartier, like a hardroll while the rest were soft like potato bread.  And I discovered that I liked it best.  When thinking about it, the reason I liked it best was not just because I thought it TASTED better, but because I felt like this was how donuts should be.  It reminded me that before there were mocha soy latte frappe and chocolate croissant shoppes, there were coffee and donut shops and they made everything from scratch there.  And when the guy behind the counter took your order, he wasn't always Corporation Pleasant which he learned in the training video, he was real and maybe even a little bit mouthy, but he also made everything himself and was pretty damn proud of that.  Mind you, I wasn't around when these kind of places existed, but I think I have it pictured correctly.

So I picked my top choice because I thought it was what a donut SHOULD BE instead of what most of them are today.  And I like the ones today.  But I also like the thought of some guy with a kind of dirty apron selling me something he made with his own hands, that morning.  Not something that got unloaded off of a truck and loaded onto a shelf by a bored and unhappy person that has higher goals and aspirations, but coffee and donut slinging are fine for now as long as the rent is paid.

Too thinky?  Oh well.


  1. I feel like you're a retro-doughnut activist. Rally the stomachs! Boil the coffee! Consume!

  2. Yes, apparently I missed my calling - I should be writing propaganda pamphlets or something...

  3. You really must make a visit to Schuyler Bakery because it is almost exactly like you imagine. It's a bit uncanny.