Around the World in Doughnuts
In every possible shape, size and flavor, fried dough is a much-loved indulgence all over the world. Let's take a quick tour of the different doughnut styles enjoyed around the globe.
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These classic doughnuts are a New Orleans tradition. Beignets are basically fluffy squares of dough that are fried until golden brown, then topped with a very generous dusting of confectioners’ sugar and best enjoyed with a hot mug of coffee.
Churros are Mexican doughnuts that are fried in a ridged flute shape, then tossed in a cinnamon-sugar mixture. You’ll sometimes see them filled with pastry cream or fruit preserves and served with a side of hot chocolate for dipping.
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The French cruller is ring-shaped and twisted, made of fried pate a choux dough (the same dough used to make profiteroles) and topped with a simple sugar glaze.
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The North Indian balushahi doughnut is similar to a glazed doughnut in appearance, but, because the dough is made with yogurt, it has a tart taste and chewy texture. These doughnuts are also fried in ghee, or clarified butter, rather than traditional oil, making them extremely rich and buttery.
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The Berliner is a round, sugar-dusted doughnut originating in Germany. Once fried, these puffy dough rounds are filled with cream, jam or chocolate, then given their signature confectioners' sugar topping. In the 1960s, this specific doughnut was made famous in America thanks to John F. Kennedy accidentally calling himself one at the Berlin Wall.
These Greek and Turkish doughnuts, known for their sweet and sticky texture, are deep-fried until golden brown, then drenched with honey-based syrup.
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These unleavened doughnuts are a Caribbean staple in restaurants and homes throughout the islands. They're flat and dense, and they work well paired with both savory and sweet flavors.
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Most commonly seen in Brazil and Portugal, these light-as-air doughnut balls are fried, soaked in syrup, then dusted in a confectioners' sugar-cinnamon mix.
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Japanese favorite mochi doughnuts are made with rice flour, which makes them light on the inside and ever-so-slightly chewy, with a surprising crispness for non-yeasted doughnuts.
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In Southern Italy, the traditional zeppole is fried until golden brown and topped with ricotta cheese or pastry cream. The texture is soft and airy like a beignet, and the inside is fluffy and often fruit-filled like a Berliner.
It's a holiday tradition in the Netherlands to eat oliebollen, a fritter-like doughnut filled with a mixture of raisins, currants, apples and lemon.
These puffy doughnuts, sometimes made with masa flour, are garnished with generous portions of honey and powdered sugar after frying. In Central America, you can also sometimes find them covered with savory toppings.
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Malasada are Portuguese doughnuts that have been broadly adopted in Hawaii. The eggy, yeasted dough is typically circular in shape, and it gets a dusting of granulated sugar once it's fried. Traditional malasadas contain neither holes nor fillings, but some varieties are filled with flavored cream, custard or fruit preserves.
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Bunuelos, Latin American doughnuts, vary from region to region. In Mexico they are typically sweet with a hint of star anise, dusted in cinnamon sugar and served with sweet syrup for dipping. In Colombia these doughnuts are savory and made into cheese dough that is then fried.
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Persians — no one knows where the name came from, but they have nothing to do with Iran — are a Canadian doughnut, usually puffy, square and topped with a thick layer of bright-pink frosting.
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