How can anyone resist a good jelly doughnut? Doughnuts are an amazing little sweet treat to begin with: you can’t really go wrong with deep-fried sweet dough that’s powdered, sugared, or even filled with jelly or cream? Usually, a doughnut is just too sweet for me to have more than one (unless it’s a little chocolate Entenmann’s doughnut, and then all bets are off). But a jelly-filled doughnut is the perfect little snack or quick breakfast pick-me-up, especially in a no-nonsense, always-moving city like New York.
Jelly doughnuts can be found in different varieties all over the culinary map, from Israeli sufganiyot to the Japanese anpan. But to me, almost nothing beats a good ol’ American jelly doughnut, the dough chewy yet light, just slightly warm from the frying process, powdered to perfection, and the ooziest, tastiest jelly that explodes in your mouth when you bite into it. Everyone’s got their favorite local doughnut joint (and if you utter the word “Dunkin'” you’re officially banished), but New Yorkers from all over the city love the Lower East Side’s Doughnut Plant. Arguably the best new doughnut on the market today, Doughnut Plant isn’t content with creating the same jelly doughnut that’s been out for years: squishy dough, powdered sugar, jelly of indeterminate fruit origin in the middle. They’ve gone gourmet with their selections, offering a doughnut with vanilla bean glaze and filled with blackberry jam. The tartness of the blackberry jam is a welcome change from the super-sweet pink-red jellies of doughnuts past, and makes a great complement to the sweet vanilla glaze. Even more interesting is the Doughnut Plant makes their jelly doughnuts with a hole in the middle, making the dough itself harder and less like a pillow of fried dough and jelly, and more like a proper doughnut with a special jelly surprise inside. You can also have their famed peanut butter and jelly doughnut today, as I wrote about it way back on National Peanut Butter And Jelly Day. Either call is a safe (and delicious!) one 😉
379 Grand St (between Suffolk St & Norfolk St)
“”Best filling I’ve ever had,” noted Alex on his scoring sheet. “Tartness of blackberries balances well with vanilla bean glaze,” wrote Doug, “a nice foil to the fried-ness.” I sounded the only note of reservation in the glowing reviews, saying that the filling was “a little too sweet.” Completing the package was the fact that, unlike every other bakery in America, Doughnut Plant makes their jelly doughnuts with a hole in the middle. Where does the jelly go? Instead of an ill-distributed glop in the center, this doughnut had jam distributed evenly throughout the interior of its entire circumference, ensuring perfectly-calibrated quantities of doughnut and jam in every bite.”–Note To Self
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“So I ordered the vanilla bean and blackberry jam doughnut. Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm. They truly are like no other doughnut I have ever seen (this one was square, with a hole in the middle, but there was still jam in every bite), and taste (so soft, perfectly made, and the flavors were perfect).”–Denise D.
“I had the blackberry vanilla jam filled doughnut and it was as good as it looked. It didn’t have unappealing factor of being overly sweet as most doughnut shops make. I could taste the jam, I could tell it was blackberry instead of sugar goop made to look like blackberries. I could even taste the hint of vanilla, nice touch. The glaze was flaky and light. It didn’t over power the bread or filling. Now the bread part was well done. Bravo to them. Slightly chewy, light, and bready. The perfect trio.”–Julie K.
And as I said before, jelly doughnuts aren’t just an American phenomenon: everybody all over the world loves deep frying dough and filling it with jelly. I don’t know, apparently it’s just a thing 😛 But in Italy the dessert is called a bombolone, believed to be named for the “calorie bomb” the dense dessert tends to be. These deep-fried jelly bombs are cooked far longer than their American doughnut counterparts, until they’re crispy and a deep caramel color. This way, they stay warm and crispy longer than regular doughnuts, and pack quite a sweet wallop when you cover them in confectioners’ sugar. One of the best places to pick up some bomboloni is Sullivan Street Bakery. Here, they fill the little brioche balls with either vanilla creme or seasonal jam, and fry them to perfection. They’re the perfect sweet end to an authentic New York City pizza slice (though don’t get me started on “the best!”) that you can also order at the counter and take home with you–or, like a real New York pizza slice, eat it right on the street on your way to the subway.
Sullivan Street Bakery
533 W 47th St (at 11th Ave)
“Over at Sullivan Street Bakery in Hell’s Kitchen, the bomboloni, are filled with either vanilla pastry cream or raspberry jam, but are of an entirely different breed. They are just as adept at satisfying a hunger for sweet fried dough but exhibit a greater body and substance with dough more akin to bread than a light pastry. Deep-fried to a crisp dark brown before getting generous shakes of confectioners’ sugar, they stay perfectly crisp at room temperature.”–Serious Eats
Some reviews from Yelp.com:
“Thumbs up for the mushroom and potato slices, too, and I can also recommend the raspberry bombolini and whatever bread you feel moved to take home. They all smell great and will make your stinky closet-kitchen smell great, too. Giant loaves of bakery fresh bread just make life better, even at home in Manhattan.”–Steven S.
“Their pastries are also to die for, especially some of their savory options which showcase cheesy goodness and smoked hamaliciousness instead of sugar. But if sugar is your thing, they won’t let you down. The bomboloni elevates the donut to a whole new playing field.”–Alexandra P.
Make sure you check out the updated NYC Food Holidays Map to find this most recent holiday!