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Jan 29 2014
Pastry’s Corner: The Croissant Donut

croissant donutThe croissant donut, if you’ve paid attention to pastry related news you’ve no doubt heard about this hybrid concoction that combines the flakiness of a croissant and the sweetness of a donut.  (Author’s note: Cronut is trademarked by the inventor, so that’s the last time I’ll use the term to avoid any pastry related lawsuits.)  I’m a donut connoisseur, so a new spin on the perfect pastry is a hard thing to pass up.  On one of my weekly Pastry Patrols through the bakery section of my local Safeway (don’t judge, grocery stores often have great bakeries and they are convenient places to grab donuts) and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a glorious display showcasing croissant donuts.  They had two varieties- glazed and cinnamon-sugar.  Naturally, I grabbed both styles because I’m a journalist dammit, and the complete croissant donut story must be told.

cronut 2At first bite the croissant donut did not blow me away, but then it hit me: how great is a fresh and warm Krispy Kreme?  Thinking on my feet, I threw the croissant donut into the microwave for 10 seconds and BAM, a whole new experience. Look at the picture to the right, see all those little pockets of air?  Those are layers of dough and between each of those layers is butter. After warming the donut, all that butter remelts and you get a buttery soft, sweet pillow of deliciousness the likes of which you’ve never experienced.  This thing just melts in your mouth.  I cannot recommend these enough and I’d love to try them fresh out of the fryer.  Maybe I’ll have to start stalking the bakery ladies to get some fryer intel. Between the two types of croissant donuts Safewway offered, I found the glazed  to be superior to the cinnamon sugar; the glaze provided a better cover while the cinnamon-sugar tended to fall off.

So the moral of the story here: get you’re ass to Safeway and grab some croissant donuts.  You can pick these up at the price point of $5 for a 4 pack, a bargain at twice the price, and  is not bad considering the croissant donuts you read about in NY are $5 a piece.  Grab a box, throw them in the microwave for a bit, and get ready for a bite of heaven.

Oct 24 2013
Pastry’s Corner: Astro Doughnuts Sweet Potato Doughnut

Astro sweet potatoAstro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken in northwest DC has quite the unique business, satisfying two needs of any red-blooded American: doughnuts & fried chicken, preparing both on-site each day.  It may sound like a weird pairing but trust me; it’s a good thing.

As you’d expect, being a doughnut aficionado, I follow the shop on Facebook to keep up with their extensive menu that changes pretty regularly.  Sure, they have “everyday” offerings (vanilla glazed, maple bacon, pb&j, & crème brûlée) but they also have a rotating menu of 4-6 other doughnuts for each day of the week.  In addition, as the seasons change, so do the seasonal doughnuts.

So long story short, one morning while perusing the latest menu update, something intriguing caught my eye: Sweet. Potato. Doughnut.  Now I’m a fan of the sweet potato, I like them fried or baked, but as a doughnut?  My mind was spinning like a top!

As I am want to do, I summoned the Pastry Dan I-Team, and planned a trip to Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken to investigate.  When I pulled the doughnut out of the bag, the aroma of cinnamon wafted out with it and I couldn’t wait to dig in.

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Oct 19 2013
Pastry’s Corner: Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin

Dunkin Donuts Pumpkin

Ah the fall, is there a better time of year?  There are leaves on the ground, a chill in the air, and it’s the return of two of my favorite things, football and pumpkins.  Since this isn’t a sports blog and pastries are my business, clearly a discussion about pumpkin pastry treats is best for business.

While there are lots of great pumpkin treats out now (breads, pies, cookies, muffins), the king of pumpkin season for me will always be the donut. Dunkin’ Donuts is no stranger to the pumpkin donut game, having made a cake donut in the fall for many years.  This year, DD stepped up their game with the introduction of the pumpkin pie donut.  

So what’s this donut all about?  Let’s look at the press release:

“Dunkin’ Donuts’ newest donut features a pumpkin pie-flavored, buttercreme-filled yeast shell, frosted with white dipping icing and sprinkled with graham cracker topping.” 

Many thoughts crossed my mind when I read that paragraph, many not fit to publish on this website, the overriding theme was, “I have to have it.”  I raced to my local Dunkin’ Donuts, turned over a K-cup display, and declared my intentions.  To eat ALL the donuts.
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Sep 16 2013
Pastry’s Corner: Montgomery Donuts

Slice n Dice DonutsWhen you’re the tip of the spear when it comes to pastry treats like me, you get involved in a lot of conversations about the best local donut and pastry shops in the various regions of the country.  For instance, talk donuts to anyone who grew up around the DC Metro region and someone will eventually mention Montgomery Donuts.

Montgomery Donuts was a legendary local chain that started in the 1940s.  However, the rise of large national chains, like Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme, put the shop out of business in the early 2000s.  Sixty years is a good run, but it’s not over.

I put the B&P I-Team on the case and learned that at a pizza/sub shop in the Crystal City Mall called Slice n’ Dice, the Montgomery Donut lives on.  The owner, Benny Fischer, bought what was left of the company in 2001 and started making the original recipe Montgomery Donuts in his shop.

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Aug 17 2013
Pastry’s Corner: Pink Lemonade Bundt Cake

Pink Lemonade Bundt

On a good Saturday you can find me hanging out at Whole Foods.  That may sound odd to some, but if you’re a regular reader here, then you know that it’s one of our favorite stops for tasty craft beers, BBQ, and cheese.  

Guess what though, they have an amazing bakery too.  Filled with cookies, pies, breads, donuts, cakes… it’s basically everything that this guy is all about. Their bundt cakes are hard to beat and if you’re stopping in for liquid refreshment at the Whole Foods, the move is to grab one for your table full of pals and devour it as quickly as humanly possible.

Whole Foods makes a variety of bundt cakes, such as chocolate, raspberry, or pumpkin and they seem to have a rotation of various flavors so you never know what you’ll find.  On a recent trip to Whole Foods we found the intriguing option of pink lemonade.  Who doesn’t enjoy a refreshing pink lemonade on a hot summer day? Communists, that’s who.  Now you might not consider bundt cake refreshing, but trust me it is. I know about these things.  They don’t call me Pastry Dan for nothing.

This cake was delicious and super moist, which is a good thing because there’s nothing worse than a dry cake.   However, the true test is returning to it after it has sat for a few days. I squirreled one of these cakes away for future enjoyment and I take joy in reporting the cake was still moist days later.  I’m not sure where the breaking point is because it didn’t last that long within the confines of my home.  Needless to say, you can enjoy it for a couple days.

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