2015: the year the Mason jar had a major moment - used to serve everything from layered salads, crumbles and cocktails, or smoothies exploding like volcanoes up and over the top. It’s been the year that seemingly half the population quit sugar, cut out carbs and always said yes to butter. The year that barbecue hit the big time, that sous vide and molecular techniques started to retreat in to the shadows in favour of old-school cooking over charcoal and woodfire. As 2015 draws to a close we take punt and bet on five things set to be hot on menus round the country in 2016.
Two of the original players are the ring-shaped donut dusted in cinnamon sugar and the puffy pillow donut stuffed with jam and cream. These classics prove that simple can be best, so long as the ingredients are good, and the technique. They’ve got to be made with good flour and good butter, and fried in clean oil at the right temperature. The cream filling must be made with rich fresh cream with just the right touch of sweetness.
Take the classics and tweak just a little. Think a fresh donut stuffed with custard, crème Anglaise or chocolate crème in place of cream. Or go a bit further: rhubarb and custard, pistachio crème, brandy butter, rum and raisin-laced crème. Cream or custard fillings that marry with more unusual flavours like bay leaf, Earl Grey tea or sorrel. Inject sophistication with crème fraiche, ricotta or even homemade labneh in place of sweetened cream. Pair with a homemade compote or coulis in place of jam and make it interesting, redolent with aromatic spices or fruit vinaigrettes.
Donuts don’t have to mean dessert. Savoury donuts are making ripples on the scene with ox cheek and crab versions having been put on the menu by top chefs. Anything cheesy and creamy is good - fillings made of parmesan cream, cheddar and chipotle, blue cheese and honey, creamy Portobello mushrooms. Push the boundaries a little with wasabi or miso cream. The ring-shaped donut lends itself well to savoury, crusted with all kind of cheese, herbs, chilli or, get this: sliced in half, stuffed with cheese and made into a delicious “doastie”.
Donuts of the world unite
The ring-shaped donut is an American thing, while the jam and cream hails from the UK. Further proof, if you need it, that we were put on this earth to consume donuts is the fact cultures the world over enjoy versions of donuts. At its simplest a donut is just dough that’s fried, so let’s welcome to the donut club the Spanish churros (with rich creamy chocolate dipping sauce, please), Greek loukoumades, crisp fruity Dutch olliebollen, Tuscan bombomlini, and Chinese youtiao. In Colombia they either sweeten or enrich dough with cheese to make bunelos, while in Argentina the national favourite dulce de leche goes into their bolas.
Presented by Taste Magazine