Doughnuts Go Gourmet

The humble pastry gets upgraded.

Could doughnuts knock cupcakes off the dessert tray’s top tier? Ashley Lee thinks so.

“You can’t have a cupcake and a coffee and call it breakfast,” says Lee, co-owner of Clever Rabbit, a diner that fills the comfort-food void for vegans and vegetarians.

Lee asked vegans which food they missed most. “Doughnuts kept coming up.” So she and sister, Tessa, worked on perfecting the treat without dairy, complete with coconut-milk ganache icing and custard (for the Boston cream variety).

But Clever Rabbit doesn’t have a monopoly on vegan doughnuts. At least not on Thursdays, when Heritage Baked Goods sets up at the 124th Street Grand Market across the road.

Part time sexual health educator and belly dancer Andrea Yacyshyn and high-school teacher Matthew Garrett incorporated everything they learned from late-night cravings during their university cramming sessions. The result? Handmade artisanal doughnuts.

Heritage Baked Goods, which launched with the new market in May (a month after Clever Rabbit opened), offers eight flavours each week Рfour vegan, four non-vegan. Everything is dye or artificial flavouring-free and they sell out almost every Thursday with most doughnuts going for between $2.50 and $3 each. (Adding further panic, the market ends Oct. 4 and Heritage has no concrete plans to secure another home for its products.)

This duo’s recipes include a lime-margarita doughnut with real tequila, and one made with chocolate-chip banana-bread dough that’s topped with chocolate glaze and banana chips (yes, still vegan). “The chips create this added texture you usually don’t find in other doughnuts,” Yacyshyn points out. On the high-end, the ever-changing Grand Special, which goes for $6, is a doughnut sandwich meant for two, but rarely eaten that way.

Yacyshyn and Garrett are having so much fun in the kitchen, they may eventually put their teaching careers on hold to start an eatery.

“I think Edmonton is a great place to try something different,” says Garrett. But, he confesses, “Nothing could ever replace a cupcake.”

Don’t be so sure.

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