Chef's Inspiration: Southern Donut Station
The Art of Catering Food Conference in Atlanta was an amazing experience for my Sous Chef and me. I have never been to the South and it did not disappoint with all its charm and comfort foods. One of the desserts we had at a ‘Lunch and Learn Buffet’ was a Peaches and Cream Spudnut Donut with Bourbon Pecan Praline and it was absolutely delicious. We decided to bring this donut idea back but turn it into a station.
I have seen some inspiration online where hanging pastry bags were used to ice cookies on a station and I thought it would be a great idea to put donut fillings in the hanging bags instead of icing. We then began to experiment with different donut recipes that would be great to fill. Almost everything we had in Atlanta had southern peaches in it, so I thought it would be fitting to have a fresh peach filling. The banana pudding idea came from one of the desserts we tasted in a class where Top Chef Contestant Kevin Gillespie was a featured speaker. He shared his grandmother’s banana pudding with us which would end up being the perfect complement to the peach filling on our donut station.
Any donut wouldn’t be complete without a glaze or fun toppings. Tasting different kinds of moonshine was one of our favorite parts of the trip, so I incorporated some moonshine in a zesty blueberry glaze and of course we had to add chocolate and maple glaze to the concept. Any southern inspired dessert wouldn’t be complete without toasted coconut, bourbon pecan praline pieces, and candied bacon, so we added those elements as our toppings. We wanted this station to be fun and interactive, so guests could fill their own donuts and then top them with their favorites creating their own masterpiece. They did, and it quickly became a crowd favorite at our summer events and it is continuing to be a favorite in the fall.