In the world of desserts, donuts have become the new cupcake. A year or two ago you couldn't walk down the street without seeing a new cupcake vendor, or old bakeries latching on to the fad. Cupcakes haven't gone anywhere (thank God) but the gourmet donut is the new cake boss in town, and thanks to bakeries like Léché Dessert Inc. it will stay like that for a while.
Léché is Montreal's first artisanal donut shop, taking the donut to realms of flavour unseen in the city before. Founder Josie Weitzenbauer was a professionally trained pastry chef before opening Léché, and she definitly applies her culinary skills to the art of donut. With a team of trained pastry chefs, Weitzenbauer makes fancy techniques and flavours affordable through her decadent donuts.
Strictly adhering to using only local and fresh ingredients, Léché's donut menu changes seasonally, and that's a good thing. In Summer months, with tons of berries in season, donuts like Strawberry Shortcake grace the menu, with authentic Quebec strawberries used. Random inspiration also influences the menu, such as the unique PB&J donut.
Unlike what you find at Tim Hortons, Léché donuts use a dough that is almost bread-like. What results is a large, airy and fluffy donut which far surpasses standard recipes. When I went in to visit the St. Henri location I tried out a couple of the tamer donuts, the maple glazed and cinnamon sugar, along with some more creative types like the lemon meringue and PB&J.
While on the simpler side, the maple and cinnamon sugar did not disappoint. You could taste the use of real maple syrup in the maple glaze, and the cinnamon sugar wasn't overly sweet and lightly spicy. Both showed off the dough used at Léché and are great options for those just entering the donut scene.
The real wows came from the lemon meringue and PB&J. These donuts showed off the pastry skills of the chefs at Leche in a huge way. The meringue topping was like a homemade marshmallow fluff and perfectly balanced the slightly tart lemon filling, where you could tell real lemons were used. A sucker for the classics, I fell in love with the PB&J donut. Roasted peanuts graced the top for textural crunch, and not only did the donut contain very fresh raspberry jelly, but there was also an utterly scrumptious peanut butter mousse! A must have for those who routinely crave peanut butter and jelly like I do.
Donuts don't need to replace cupcakes, they're in a league of their own, as Léché demonstrates. You'll go nuts for these donuts, so nab them the next time you get a chance.