Living outside of London, my options for good doughnuts are limited in comparison to my sister. However, I am lucky enough to have a few great restaurants nearby, one of which is Ranfield’s Brasserie. Before giving a review of their latest doughnuts on the menu, I have to tell a story to show just how much I love doughnuts.
In March 2016, I became a mother. My birthday was in May and I wasn’t quite ready to go out yet as my son was still spending most evenings clusterfeeding. So I asked my husband if he would get me some doughnuts from Ranfield’s. At the time, the doughnuts in question were part of their a la carte menu, and came coated in sugar, served in a little paper bag with a jam dipping sauce. They sound simple, but they were incredible. As Ranfield’s is a ‘fine dining’ restaurant and don’t do takeaway, my husband called them, explained the situation and they said of course they would be delighted to help. They said they would call back in the evening when they had started serving desserts so it would fit in with their schedule. We never got a call. I went to bed at 9.30pm (which was pretty late at the time given the sleep-deprivation I was experiencing) feeling pretty grumpy and holding a bit of a grudge against the restaurant.
I ended up forgiving them (their food is amazing and living in Essex, there aren’t enough choices around to let me be bitter!) but they soon took the doughnuts off the menu. Clearly their customers weren’t happy as after numerous requests (not all from me), they put them back on.
The new doughnuts are little crispy light balls, with a smear of raspberry jam inside and come served on a generous smear of crème du leche and with quenelles of chantilly cream on the side. There is also a scattering of fresh and freeze-dried raspberries, and little squirts of raspberry foam that are a little tart, helping to break through all of the sweetness on the plate. It’s a brilliant dessert and demonstrates how to do doughnuts in a sophisticated way.