A good doughnut does not rely on gimmicks, but a gimmick can help out a subpar doughnut. It doesn’t matter how artisanal or renowned a doughnut shop is, if they can’t produce a decent plain, yeast-risen, glaze doughnut — without covering it in distracting ingredients — they are not a good doughnut shop.
Let's be serious for a moment: without that crackling, crystalized sugar crust on top, crème brûlée would just be custard. It would be very good custard, but that torched sugar is what makes it special. Brûlée-ing however, is not an act that should be reserved for crème. You can brûlée all sorts of foods, bringing a touch of decadence to every meal.
Though I don’t care for the ganache-dipped, basil-infused, or cereal-covered creations this town has to offer — I’m much happier with a Krispy Kreme or grocery store doughnut — there is one fancy-pants modification I like to apply to a plain glazed, particularly if they’re too sweet and one-note, or have been sitting around for a few days and beginning to lose their lustre: hitting the top with a brûlée torch.
It takes less than a minute, and you get the same crispy, caramelised crust as you do with a grilled doughnut, without having to go outside and fire up the grill.
You don’t even have to sprinkle the doughnut with sugar, as it’s already coated in plenty. Just turn your kitchen torch on to a low flame, and slowly and gently swirl it along the top of the doughnut.
It will bubble and melt, then start to brown — just keep the flame moving at an easy, constant rate until you have a circle of dark, caramelised sugar.
(Like my marshmallows, I like my brûléed items slightly dark in spots, but you may want to stop a little earlier.)
Once your doughnut is as torched as you desire, let the sugary crust sit to harden for a few minutes before enjoying. (Feeling your teeth crunch through the crust is the best part.)