Crispy Doughnuts? Yeah, I’m Into It

Aungier Danger in Dublin, IrelandThere’s a fairly well regarded doughnut joint in Dublin called Aungier Danger, and the doughnuts there aren’t quite like any other doughnut I’ve had — they’re crispy.

They have a bunch of really interesting looking flavours, but I went with the Dublin Death Trap, which is pretty straightforward: it’s filled with vanilla custard, and topped with a chocolate ganash.

Aungier Danger in Dublin, Ireland

The flavours were great — the filling was really rich and custardy, and the ganash was admirably restrained in its sweetness, with a very pronounced dark chocolate flavour.

But the doughnut itself was just odd.  The whole bottom was weirdly crispy, and as you can see from the picture below, there was a fairly thick layer of grease that soaked into the pastry.  I have no idea if this was intentional or if there was just an issue with the temperature of the oil, but it actually wasn’t bad.  It was a bit off-putting at first, but once you get used to it the crispy/chewy contrast is actually pretty satisfying.

Aungier Danger in Dublin, Ireland

I wonder if the crispy exterior is an Irish thing?  I guess I’ll just have to eat more doughnuts to find out.  Such is life.

You Know What I Like Best? The Price.

Piemaker in Edinburgh, ScotlandWhen you’re traveling on a budget, there’s nothing more satisfying than finding a cheap meal that’s actually good.  A great example of this?  A delightfully affordable pie shop in Edinburgh called Piemaker.

Piemaker in Edinburgh, Scotland

I got a Scotch Pie, which is filled with a peppery mixture of very finely ground beef (the texture kind of reminded me of the filling of Jamaican patties).

Piemaker in Edinburgh, Scotland

I also got a haggis roll, which features greasy puff pastry (seriously, look at how oily the bag got after about 15 seconds of contact with this thing) filled with a generous amount of haggis.

To be honest, neither was anything too memorable, but the price?  I paid £2.50 for both — around four bucks Canadian — for a meal that was tasty enough and surprisingly filling.  Somehow, when it’s that cheap, it just tastes better.

Paris Croissant Roundup

Seeing as how I’m a reasonable person who spent some time in Paris, I ate a lot of croissants.  Do you want to hear about them?  Every single one?  No?  Okay, here they are.

Croissant in Paris, FranceDes Gateaux et du Pain
This was a solid croissant — maybe a little bit too aggressively crispy, but otherwise quite good.  Still, it worried me a bit; it was good, but very comparable to the better croissants I’ve had back home. Were Paris croissants not going to be as amazing as I had hoped?  The next one I ate answered that question pretty conclusively.

Croissant in Paris, FranceStohrer
And there it is — the croissant perfection I had hoped for.  The contrast between the perfectly crispy exterior and the soft, buttery interior was pure joy in pastry form.  It was actually kind of insane how buttery this was.  I held onto it with the paper bag as I ate it, and by the time I was done that bag was practically transparent.  And yet it didn’t taste greasy at all — just pleasantly buttery in all the best ways.

Croissant in Paris, FranceMaison Decorde
This actually wasn’t on my list of places to check out — apparently most bakeries in Paris are closed on Mondays, so after striking out a couple of times, I wound up at this place completely at random.  And the croissant was pretty good, with a lightly crispy exterior and a mild buttery flavour.  But the texture of the interior was weirdly tough; it was still a pretty good croissant, but this is Paris, so pretty good is actually kind of awful.

Croissant in Paris, FranceChatillon Pascal
Easily the daintiest croissant I’ve had, this had an ultra-light, almost ethereal outer layer of crispiness, and a super fluffy interior. It was also a little bit sweeter than the other croissants I’ve had so far. Not mind-blowing, but quite tasty!

Croissant in Paris, FranceBlé Sucré
I actually wasn’t crazy about this one. Though it was mostly okay — nice crackly exterior, fluffy interior — it was the greasiest croissant I’ve ever had.  It left my mouth and lips unpleasantly grease-slicked, like I just took a swig of oil.  And yet it didn’t have a particularly pronounced buttery flavour.

Croissant in Paris, FranceMaison Landemaine
Well, that was extremely middle-of-the-road. It was mostly pretty good — nice and buttery, good interior texture — but it was lacking the exterior crispiness that you’ve gotta have in a great croissant.

Croissant in Paris, FranceCafe Pouchkine
Quite good, but extremely untraditional — aside from the fact that it’s lightly glazed in some kind of syrup, the interior is sprinkled with a small amount of cocoa (I think — there was very little of it, but there did seem to be a mild chocolaty flavour). It’s actually really tasty for what it is, but come on, man. Don’t mess with the croissant. Also: at two Euros, this was the most expensive croissant I’ve had by far.

Croissant in Paris, FranceEric Kayser

Croissant in Paris, FranceDominique Saibron
I actually had to stand in a pretty long line for this one, so I had high hopes that it would be something special. And though it was one of the better croissants that I had in Paris, the exterior crispiness wasn’t quite there.

All in all, it might seem like I’m pretty negative on a lot of these croissants.  I was being tough on them, being in Paris and all, but I’d be happy to eat any one of them back home.  I did peak early though — the best croissant was easily the one from Stohrer.