Sort-of Secret: The Donuterie, artisanal doughnuts from a Leslieville lunch counter
The sort-of secret: The Donuterie, an artisanal doughnut maker with a focus on seasonal flavours
You may have heard of it if: You’ve been to Leslieville’s Fruitful Market
But you probably haven’t tried it because: This small-batch business only opened in September
One could be forgiven for not associating doughnuts with fresh, seasonal produce. But consider one made with hefty chunks of fall’s best pears, fried to a perfect golden brown, set off with rich almond cream and finished with toasted slivers of almond. Or another made with pawpaw, which tastes like a cross between a mango and a banana and has a flitting three-week season.
These are a few recent offerings from The Donuterie, a dedicated doughnut specialist run by Yannis Banks, owner of Leslieville’s Fruitful Market (which is also home base for the business). Banks has been experimenting with doughnuts for the better part of a year, but officially opened his baked goods biz inside his market this September. His seasonally inspired curiosities and stellar versions of familiar classics have quickly developed a cult following.
Naturally, it all started with finding a balance of richness and sweetness for the dough. After much testing, Banks settled on a brioche-style recipe—that is, one that absolutely does not skimp on the butter. The result is a wetter-than-average dough; it yields a tender, fluffy doughnut that’s decadently rich, not too sweet, and a solid base for showy toppings.
“This year, I made a habit of visiting farmers’ markets every week—primarily the East York one every Tuesday, to pick up local, seasonal fruit,” says Banks. “So far, we’ve made doughnuts with peaches, nectarines, apricots, apples and pears. This month, we’re making a cronut with spiced plum and amaretto. Enjoying the amazing fruit we have in Ontario is a key part of what we’re doing.”
The spiced plum and amaretto creation is one of a few cronuts on offer, made with laminated dough. (There’s also a vegan, gluten-free dough available in certain flavours, if that’s your jam.) A generous filling of house-made plum jam tastes decidedly of the fresh fruit it’s made from—a hint of amaretto gives it interest, and it’s all finished with a light, plummy pink glaze.
Another standout sweet is the mango lassi doughnut, which has a hint of the inspiration’s bracing tang with yogurt-based pastry cream while still playing well within doughnut-acceptable sugar boundaries. Riffing on beverages—including cocktails—is a popular angle here, as in the blood orange Aperol toasted almond doughnut, a play on a negroni or Aperol spritz.
Many desserts that purport to taste like earl grey are only weakly reminiscent of it; not so with this spot’s earl grey and biscuits flavour, which uses cream well-steeped in Genuine Tea’s cream of earl grey for a real hit.
While creative novelties are definitely a highlight here, don’t overlook the shop’s take on more familiar flavours. The Boston cream is close to the Platonic ideal of the classic, and to get a sense of the buttery dough’s subtle glory, you can do no better than the deceptively simple cinnamon sugar doughnut.
In the future, Banks hopes to open The Donuterie in its own location. For now, you’re best off popping into the Fruitful Market for a taste: the shop runs a limited selection of flavours between Tuesdays and Thursdays; Friday to Sunday, a full assortment is on offer, including for pre-order and delivery.