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On Our Plate

A house-made doughnut at Van Leeuwen.

Artisan Ice Cream has cultivated quite a following with its organic offerings over the past few years. Made with 18 per cent butterfat in inspired flavors such as Red Currant (a Scandinavian specialty), Giandujia (a blend of chocolate and hazelnuts) or the addictive Vanilla (ground from sun-cured, vodka-soaked beans), it's easy to overlook the pastry case inside of their Boerum Hill shop at 81 Bergen Street near Smith Street.

And that is a shame. Because as I discovered this week, there are some hidden gems waiting just behind the glass. Having stopped in for a quick cup of Intelligentsia coffee, my eyes scanned the cookies and scones before landing upon a pile of homely, old-fashioned doughnuts. They appeared almost too dark, as if they had been left in the fryer a minute longer than intended. But something inside nudged me to order one anyway. I'm so glad that I did.

The outside of the doughnut had been fried to a thick crust that crunched as I bit into it, while the inside was dense, chewy perfection. It didn't look any prettier for being delicious. But I found that the sturdy outer shell also gave the doughnut much greater stability when dunked into my coffee. It was simple and not too sweet, the type of doughnut you long for after a day spent apple-picking in the fall. In fact, it has become the type of doughnut that I will long for after a day spent doing anything.

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