The hole world

Does a doughnut by any other name taste as sweet? You bet, according to this international roundup.

Spain flag


Sure, Spanish tapas hot-spot Suba (109 Ludlow St between Rivington and Delancey Sts, 212-982-5714) has long, skinny churros on its menu, but it’s the little round buuelos ($8) that enjoy top-selling status. According to chef de cuisine Bruce Dillon, the traditional version from Valencia has an unflavored dough and is served with a chocolate dipping sauce. He sweetened the dish for the American palate by adding a side of coconut sorbet and putting chocolate ganache in the center of the fritter; it melts upon frying. “People hear 'fried’ and they think, Oh my God [that’s too rich],” says Dillon. “Then they take a bite and can’t get enough.”

Greece flag


The best-selling dessert at haute Greek newcomer Parea (36 E 20th St between Broadway and Park Ave South, 212-777-8448) is a large bowl of doughnut holes ($7) based on loukoumades, sweet fritters served with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon. Pastry chef Jodi Elliott updates the traditional recipe by adding cinnamon to the dough before frying and topping the doughnuts with a cinnamon glaze. She also thickens the honey dip with whipped pastry cream. Lest the dessert come off as too sweet, the doughnuts are served with a sage iced-tea sharp enough to balance all that sugar.

Japan flag


Marcus Samuelsson came up with green-tea doughnuts as a way to bring Japanese flavors to American comfort food at Riingo (205 E 45th St between Second and Third Aves, 212-867-4200). (Japan went crazy for doughnuts after the American franchise Mr. Donut established itself there three decades ago.) Executive chef Johan Svensson replaced the edamame-jam filling that was on the original menu with a sweet matcha (fine, powdered green tea) cream. The current incarnation ($8) comes with green-tea ice cream, cinnamon sabayon, and a “slaw” of Asian pears and apples.

Italy flag


April Robinson, pastry chef of Andrew Carmellini’s stylish Italian eatery A Voce (41 Madison Ave at 26th St, 212-545-8555), was in Florence when she spied a bakery with a glass chute. “Doughnuts were flying from the kitchen to the counter,” Robinson says. Known as bomboloni, they vary in shape and filling, but these were “tennis-ball-size and stuffed with apricot marmalade.” Stateside, she eschews the Tuscan bomboloni’s light brioche dough for a denser doughnut version ($10), and flavors the batter with dark rum and citrus zest. The apricot marmalade moves from inside the doughnut to a dish on the side; a rich vanilla cream takes its place inside the pastry.

India flag


While syrup-soaked fritters are popular in India, pastry chef Melissa Walnock gives hers a lighter touch by infusing doughnut batter with orange blossom essence. “[The essence] is in so many Indian desserts,” she says. Walnock improved on the dish when she took the reins at Bread Bar and Tabla (11 Madison Ave at 25th St, 212-889-0667) three months ago. Her ethereal doughnuts ($8), which originally came with just one chocolate dip, are now joined by three: vanilla rum, caramel and a berry jam with Thai chili. “You feel the chili for just a second,” she assures us.