Sugar Rush: Blowtorched Creme Brulee Beignets at Donut-o-Rama in Portland, OR
It's a bit daring to open a doughnut cart mere steps from Portland's touristy hotspot Voodoo Doughnut, but Greg Slauson had a vision. And we're not certain we've seen so much blowtorching in a food cart anywhere.
Slauson has regular beignets on the menu, but the real draw at Donut-O-Rama is the creme brulée beignet.
The filling is Boston Cream custard (ok, Jell-O custard) enhanced with vanilla bean, five spice, and vanilla extract, but you're there for the crisp burnt-sugar top, which happens by torching two layers of sprinkled sugar on the just-fried beignet. The final product is hot; so hot that Slauson suggests waiting until you've walked about two blocks of cool-off time before attempting to bite in.
There's a lot going on, but the beignet itself shines through, fresh and yeasty. He makes 20 cups of dough at a time, using a recipe that riffs on Paula Deen (Slauson adds shortening and some brown sugar.)
On our visit, he was also experimenting with a Nutella-filled beignet, topped with toasted hazelnuts and powdered sugar. If you're looking for a sugar high, this is a gutsy way to go.
We're eating our way through the state of Oregon! Check out all our Oregon month posts over here.