American Classics

Lost classic desserts from our wide and varied past.

American Classics: Spiced Squash Doughnuts

Spiced Squash Doughnuts.jpg

[Photograph: Alexandra Penfold]

While squash may not top the list of my favorite vegetables, I'll never say no to a fresh squash doughnut and you shouldn't either.

Where does one find a squash doughnut? Maine! Mainers take their doughnuts seriously. Legend has it that Maine sea captain Hanson Gregory put the hole in the doughnut so to speak. Variations on the story abound, but my favorite version has Captain Gregory impaling the fried pieces of dough on his ship's steering wheel for easier snack access. Family vacations in Maine meant the opportunity for fresh cake doughnuts in "exotic" varieties we just didn't see in southern New England. We're talking cake doughnuts in flavors like potato, zucchini, molasses and squash.

Squash lends a light sweetness and mild earthiness to doughnuts and it also happens to make for a very tender and fluffy cake. You can dress these doughnuts up with a simple glaze or just roll them in some cinnamon sugar. With fall upon us there's no reason to let pumpkin have all the fun.

About the author: Alexandra Penfold is mild-mannered literary agent by day, food ninja by night. Never one to skip dessert she's the Brownie half of Blondie & Brownie, a Midtown Lunch contributor, and co-author of New York à la Cart: Recipes and Stories from the Big Apple's Best Food Trucks. You can follow her on Twitter at @BlondieBrownie.

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