Toronto Life’s sufganiyot taste test
Hanukkah is the filled doughnut’s time to shine, and fans of sufganiyot (that’s Hebrew for jelly doughnuts) are split on who makes the best ones, and just what should be inside of them. We brought in festive filled treats (jelly, custard, caramel) from two old-school Jewish bakeries—Grodzinski’s and Haymishe’s—and from sassy upstart, VON Doughnuts (they make wacky flavours like the tequila-infused One Night Stand). Then, we had our resident experts do a blind taste test to determine a winner.
Simon Bredin, editorial assistant
Steve Kupferman, associate online editor
Emily Landau, senior editor
David Topping, executive online editor
3437 Bathurst St., 416-789-0785, grodzinskibakery.com
EL: It doesn’t have to be jelly-filled, it just should be. The caramel one is good. But I do kind of miss the jelly.
DT: Mine is very good; the custard is very good.
SK: The caramel is good, too. It’s like a Jewish churro.
EL: The dough is spongy and delicious. It’s got good bounce.
DT: It’s got great bounce.
EL: I still don’t think I’m in love with the caramel. I miss the acid of the jelly.
SB: I’m not sure about the custard. It feels like I’m betraying Hanukkah.
EL: I don’t like the jelly one; I find the jelly kind of grainy. I prefer it a bit gloopier.
DT: It tastes like really good jam, not like a filling.
EL: This place has great dough, though. It’s fluffy and sweet but not too sweet.
DT: Dat dough, doe. Please don’t quote me on that.
Haymishe Bagel Shop
3031 Bathurst St., 416-781-4212
DT: This one’s goopy. I’m already on a bit of sugar high; I’m really excited and happy.
EL: There’s like a caramel glaze on top.
DT: The dough has nothing on the first one, but the filling is better.
EL: The filling is better; good jam. But the dough…
SK: It’s a little tough.
EL: The first one had better elasticity.
SK: The custard’s very sweet. It reminds me of Jello Instant Pudding.
DT: Here’s a question: for sufganiyot, what matters most, the filling or the dough?
EL: The dough.
DT: You’re more Jewish than I am, so then you’re entitled to that opinion.
713 Danforth Ave., 416-901-8663, vondoughnuts.com
SK: I like the look of the jelly. You can tell it was fruit once.
SB: It’s got a good jelly-to-dough ratio.
EL: This one’s trying too hard. It’s like fancy jelly; it doesn’t need be this fancy.
DT: Something tastes off about the spicing in the jelly, for sure.
EL: It tastes like mulled wine in jelly form. And as we know, for Jewish food, the blander the better.
DT: That’s my least favourite one, for sure.
SK: I like the finish on the doughnut though. It’s very smooth on the outside.
EL: This one looks the best.
DT: It does look the best. And yet, it is the worst.
While our opinionated experts preferred Haymishe’s jelly filling, they deemed Grodzinski’s superior dough worthy of the win.
DT: The first one is the one I want to eat again.
SK: It’s also the one we have no more of.