Pretty much every day is a donut day for me. (That’s what I get for working in a café/ artisanal donut bakery/ carb heaven.) Whether I’m drooling over the cinnamon scrolls during my shift or making my own donuts at home in my freakin’ adorable mini donut pan, there’s no shortage of sugary, hole-y baked goods in my life. I even had cream-filled donuts instead of a cake at my wedding reception. Things are serious.
So how do I not get all donutted out? The ugly truth is, sometimes I do. During those dark times, I do unthinkable things like drink ginger shots and meal-prep quinoa for the week (gasp!). But my love of donuts is always, always rekindled. The key to falling in love with donuts all over again is to have a particularly special donut day, one in which I have a donut that’s so well-made, so creative, or so satisfying that it recharges my passion for donuts entirely.
Today is one of those special donut days. Today, I present you with a donut-mochi hybrid that brings together the squishy texture and starchy flavor of sweet rice flour with the cuteness of a donut. The individual donuts themselves are relatively thin, and thus work well sandwiched together with a red bean filling in the middle. Spoon a coconut milk glaze on top and prepare for your faith in donuts to be restored.
The chill in the air that’s creeped in this past week is lifting me out of a funk that’s been weighing me down lately. Leo and I returned from our long-awaited trip to Ohio a few weeks ago. I had been looking forward to that trip for so long, and with good reason: the highlight of our stay was Part Two of our wedding reception, a party in the backyard of my parents’ brand-spankin’-new house. My friends and family from Ohio mingled with my friends from New York (not to mention my husband from London!). There were hundreds of cream-filled donuts, cookies shaped like hydrangeas, and a soft-serve ice cream machine. My little brothers and cousins played yard games and skipped stones in the creek, swinging from tree branches and wreaking light havoc. It was joyful and buzzy and summery—the kind of gorgeous day where you have to pause for a second and tell yourself to soak it all in, because it’s something you want to remember for a long, long time.
Since moving to London, I have discovered two words that are quickly becoming my new favorites. Perhaps they are already a part of your daily vocabulary, but I had never heard them before and have been using them at every chance I get, sometimes a little too enthusiastically.
The first word is chinwag, i.e. an intense chat or gossip session. Used in a sentence: “It’s been such a tough week—I just need to let off some steam and have a Prosecco and a chinwag with the girls tonight.” How great is that?! I love it.
The second word is squidgy. This is one that I’m surprised I’d never heard, given that it’s a perfect description of so many baked goods: soft, moist, even a little chewy. If I were a cake, I would most definitely want to be a squidgy one. Used in a sentence: “That sticky toffee pudding was perfectly squidgy, Poppy dear. How did you ever manage to make it so delightfully spongy and moist?”
Strawberry season has arrived in England and I’m greeting it with open arms (and a lot of butter).
Earlier this month, I made a chocolate-strawberry tart for Leo’s birthday. It had a crust made of two different kinds of digestives (a misleadingly healthy-sounding name for cookies), butter, a hefty layer of sweet strawberries, and a drizzle of melted chocolate. I meant to top the tart with hand-whipped cream, too, but an hour later, with an incredibly sore arm, a ton of curdled, liquidy cream (ew), and more than a little frustration, I realized I bought the wrong kind and had to scratch it.
Luckily, the cream debacle didn’t make much of a difference. The tart was still fan-freakin’-tastic, in large part because of how darn good the strawberries are right now. We ate it in the park with friends and it was messy and delicious and happy and I got a sunburn. Summer, right? Sigh.
Today I’m here to give you a recipe that’s a lot more foolproof than the little tart that caused me so much grief on Leo’s birthday. This strawberry-ginger crumble is a simple, lovely dessert that screams summer and showcases the season beautifully. I was inspired by Bon Appetit’s super-useful primer on crumbles but quickly ended up doing my own thing, with great results.
If someone in the not-too-distant past told me I’d make a semi-wholesome baked donut that I’d love just as much as the chocolate-covered, cream-filled, fried kind, I would have laughed. But then again, if someone in the not-too-distant past asked me where I saw myself at the age of 23, my answer would definitely not have been “settling into married life in a foreign country.” The moral of the story, kids, is to embrace the unexpected—because the unexpected can be damn good.