Will the savoury doughnut, or even The Brassierie’s goanut (goat’s cheese doughnut) be next?
Meet Christian Rozsenich, executive chef at The Tower Hotel’s Brasserie restaurant. He’s just designed a brand new menu for the restaurant which features dishes like slow roasted pork (which he cooks for eight whole hours), a lobster ravioli, broccoli with cheddar bonbons and, intriguingly, goat’s'= cheese doughnuts.
And the new menu certainly seems to have gone down well with diners: the Brasserie has just won a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for 2013.
We caught up with Christian to find out how he came up with the idea, what he thinks of the cronut craze and why he loves pairing sweet and savoury…
I don’t believe in putting flavours together for the sake of it, but I love pairing savoury flavours with sweet ones. Salted caramel or sea salt specked chocolates are a great example – the salt brings out the sweetness so much more.
Goat’s cheese is such a punchy, distinctive flavour that it needs a contrast and so works well with sweeter flavours like beetroot and fruit.
Here I’ve gone a step further and put it in a fluffy doughnut and paired it with fruity beetroot compote, salted caramel mousse, caramelised pecan nuts and balsamic vinegar, which has been aged for eight years. It might seem like a daring combination, but the philosophy behind it is sound and it really works. A goanut, if you will.
Do you hope the trend will take off?
Of course, I want diners to come away from the restaurant feeling inspired and excited to try something new. It’s always good to keep the taste buds alive by treating them to a new and unexpected flavour.
Crepes can be filled with savoury or sweet ingredients, and I want people to think of doughnuts in the same way. They’re the perfect vehicle for something like goat’s cheese.
What do you think of croissant doughnuts (cronuts)?
I love croissants and I love doughnuts, but I’m not convinced that a hybrid is totally necessary, sorry. Still, it’s always great to see chefs innovating and pushing the boundaries.
A short history of doughnuts
The origins of the doughnut are somewhat shrouded in mystery, but it’s thought that the Dutch brought them to America (along with other sweet treats like apple pie and cookies). The Dutch called them oliekoek, which translates to ‘oil cake’.
By the middle of the 19th century, doughnuts had undergone a thoroughly American makeover and they’ve been a huge part of American culture ever since. They’re Homer Simpson’s favourite treat, they were the snack which female Salvation Army volunteers served American soldiers during the First World War for sustenance and there are few roadside diners in America which don’t offer doughnuts at the counter. The Americans love doughnuts so much that they even have a National Doughnut Day, which falls on the first Friday of June.
But there’s also a movement which is embracing a more refined kind of doughnut, both in America and the rest of the world, often with unusual flavour combinations. Bakers are coming out with boundary-pushing flavours like crème brûlée, bacon with maple syrup and red velvet doughnuts. The Thai branch of the Mister Donut chain even trialled a sushi doughnut – doughnuts decorated with toppings resembling (but thankfully not containing) raw fish. And Heston Blumenthal has shared a recipe for his exploding potato doughnuts. So The Brasserie’s goanut is in good company…
Do you like eating sweet and savoury flavours together? Would you try a savoury doughnut or our goanut)?