Doughnuts, or donuts as some would insist upon. The classic sugar covered doughy goodness beloved by all. Well, some people don’t like them, but they are usually recaptured pretty quickly.
Anyway, we all know what they are, but do the rest of the world share the same tastes. We look at some of the wonderful and weird examples available around the globe.
A traditional Italian recipe, the Bomboloni is made from a type of pastry called bomba (bomb). It could be due to the resemblance to an old fashioned bomb, or possibly a reference to the high calorie density i.e. a calorie bomb.
They are a filled doughnut with chocolate, custard and jam amongst others.
A Berliner Pfannkuchen is a traditional German pastry similar to a doughnut made from sweet yeast dough made with eggs, milk and butter then fried in fat or oil with a marmalade or jam filling and icing or powdered sugar topping. Sometimes they are made with champagne, mocha, advocaat or chocolate.
They are traditionally a new years eve treat though they can be purchased throughout the year. A common practical joke is to fill them with mustard and serve them together with regular Berliners.
A Middle Eastern/Indian/North African snack made from deep fried maida flour then soaked in sugar syrup. They are somewhat chewy with a crystallised sugar coating. Traditionally served with curd or rabri.
They were traditionally given to the poor during Ramadan and there are cookbooks dating back to the 10th century with recipes for them. Also eaten in the Indian subcontinent were they are served with condensed milk or vegetable curry.
A traditional snack in Spain and Portugal. They are served with hot chocolate, and can be plain or filled with chocolate, jam, custard etc.
Their origins are unclear, with one theory being they were brought from China by Portuguese explorers. Another being they were invented by Spanish shepherds being easy to fry over open fires in the mountains.
An Israeli treat, nowadays very similar to the Berliner, though cooked in schmaltz due to kashrut laws. Traditionally they were made from two rings of dough surrounding a jelly filling then fried in one piece. Although this method is still used, they are more often made like the Berliner, a ball of dough with the filling injected.
They can also be stuffed with chocolate, truffle, dulce de leche and topped with a variety from coconut shavings to liquors and fruit pastes.
Looking more like Churros than traditional doughnuts, the Chinese Youtiao is a golden brown, deep fried strip of dough. Common in China and other South East Asian cuisines. Traditionally lightly salted and made to be torn in two, they are a breakfast treat, and accompany rice congee, soy milk or milk blended with sugar.
Legend has it that they are a protest against the Song Dynasty official Qin Hui who allegedly plotted to frame the general Yue Fei, an iconic patriot in China. The treat represents Qin Hui and his wife collaborating to bring about the generals downfall. They were supposedly first made in the shape of two humans before evolving into their current form.
Common in France, and French influenced areas such as New Orleans they date back to the time of Ancient Rome. Though the practice of deep frying dough goes back to at least the 5th Century BC.
They can be made with choux pastry or yeast pastry, and are commonly served at breakfast with powdered sugar and served hot and fresh.
A Japanese doughnut, made from deep fried dough filled with red bean paste. This dates from around 1983 so is a relative baby in the doughnut world.
One of our favourite doughnuts hailing from that super laid back super friendly country of Holland. They are like a dumpling, made with an ice cream scoop of dough, dropped into a deep fryer with hot oil. This provides a spherical shaped doughnut popular at funfairs and traditionally eaten on New Years Eve.
They can be injected with a variety of jams, custard chocolate etc, and are usually topped with sugar.
Sel Roti Doughnuts
Hailing from the mountain kingdom of Nepal. The sel roti is a traditional home made ring shaped treat made from rice flour. Unique to Nepal, they are made mainly for the Nepali celebrations of the Tihar and Dashain festivals.
Made from a mix of flour, ghee and baking soda, these are fried in ghee or oil then dunked in a thick sugar syrup. Sweet but flaky they are a staple in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala and Kamataka.
A traditional Afrikaner fried dough infused with honey or syrup. Made from plated dough strips that are deep fried in oil then submerged into ice cold sugar syrup. They have a liquid syrup centre and a golden crunchy crust. Very sticky and sweet. They were traditionally baked to raise funds for the building of schools and churches.
There are literally dozens of variations of doughnuts around the world, all delicious.