In case you’d somehow missed the big news, this week is national doughnut week! Yes, a whole week dedicated to this most mighty of snacks and all for a good cause too as the proceeds made from the sale of doughnuts at participating bakers across the UK will help to raise money for The Children’s Trust, a national charity which provides care, education and therapy for children with multiple disabilities and health needs.
Though they are probably most associated with the USA (think, for example, of Homer Simpson’s longstanding obsession with them, not to mention Krispy Kremes, Dunkin’ Doughnuts and the numerous other American chains devoted to them), there are in fact variations on the humble doughnut in national cuisines the world over.
In Japan, for instance, the ‘an-doughnut’, a type of bean-paste doughnut, is widely available. In Poland, the typical round jam-filled doughnut is called the pączki and has been in existence since the middle ages. Germany is famous for the ‘Berliner’ which is the standard jam filled doughnut that is, somewhat confusingly, sold everywhere in the country except Berlin. Whilst in east Africa, the signature doughnuts are called lagaymat and are balls of fried dough dusted with powdered sugar.
The humble doughnut, then, is something of a universal concept. In the UK though, we like to keep things simple with the traditional doughnut here being defined as a deep-fried enriched dough that is usually sweet and ring shaped. Once it has been fried, the dough is then covered with sugar, frosting or glaze or filled with cream, jam or custard. The doughnut can be considered a versatile little blighter as well as they work brilliantly dipped in coffee, tea or milk and can be eaten as breakfast, dessert or a snack at any time of the day.
So seeing as it’s all for a good cause this week, there’s more of a reason than ever to hotfoot it to your nearest baker and get munching on a delicious doughnut!