In my lifetime, I’ve put a lot of questionable things in my mouth and raw pumpkin is the least troubling of them. The other things I’d rather not say. One year, being really bored, I ate a slice when I was carving a Jack O’Lantern for our annual Halloween party. I was a bit stunned because pumpkin has no real flavor. Go ahead and eat a piece when you are carving out those triangle eyes or nose.
See? It’s like the edible version of my boring cousin who is a short wave radio fetishistâ€¦no character whatsoever. Seriously, the only excitement that guy gets is when he hits one of those weird “number stations” that repeat digits in an eerie robotic voice. Don’t even get me started with the spooky ones that have “The Lincolnshire Poacher” playing after the numbers are repeated. I’m still creeped out when I hear the sound of a recorder or a flute. It’s a bit WickerMan-ish (not the Nicolas “flaring nostrils” Cage version mind you).
Getting back to pumpkins, what we are really doing is attributing the “taste” to a combination of nutmeg, cinnamon, and some ground ginger which is the major trifecta in pumpkin pies. Think about the pumpkin beers or pumpkin ice creams you have all consumed. Nutmeg is the dominant flavor and the remainder plays varying degrees of intensity.
The nutmeg/ginger combo is perhaps the most popular flavor that invokes our mind for the year-end holidays. The next holiday flavor has to be creamy menthol which is my favorite. When done well, both can be delicious regardless of what vessel is used to transport that essence. I myself like a Midori mixed with some creme de menthe for a holiday cocktail but I have great affection for nutmeg too.
If we’re playing for keeps on holiday tastes, my shout goes for all the lucky Jewish friends I have. They get to gobble up all those latkes during Hanukkah, and who the hell doesn’t love some fried potato pancakes and that eight candle of death: The flamethrower Menorah?
Dunkin’ Donuts wanting a piece of that holiday proverbial (pumpkin) pie has intelligently chosen a donut as its vessel and just recently introduced the limited edition pumpkin donut (that has to be the most times the word “donut” has been used in a sentence). Which I suppose is much more appealing to the masses versus a fried potato flavored donut or a jelly donut filled with sweet mint cream. I would buy both but I’m also the guy who ate a 7-Eleven Banh Mi which was about as successful as the Vietnam War.
I warn you dear reader and admit that Dunkin’ Donuts can vary from locations. There is one close to me where I swear the elderly riddled with bed sores in nursing homes are given more attention. The donuts here are hard and taste like afterthoughts.
Instead, I frequent the one where every time I go, the smell of fried dough lets me know it’s always damn time they make the donuts! When a “Dunkin'” donut is hot and fresh, it can rival those of the indy (and trendy) boutique donut shops that food/travel shows like to suggest we buy from lest we are bucktoothed knuckle-draggers.
With that said, know that this review is based on a shop with significant foot traffic thanks to being a neighbor with a hospital that has a major emergency trauma center. I bought two, one to eat immediately and the other to leave in that white bag to be scarfed down the following day. I wanted to see if the flavor held up since most of us are not Steven Seagal and do not eat all the donuts in one sitting.
I mean have you seen that guy? He was the freaking “squinting eyes/taking names/kicking ass” hero in Under Siege. Now that he’s a sworn border patrol agent, I’m sure the only Mexican he is going to catch is a chicken burrito or a beef chimichanga with extra sour cream.
I shelled out under two bucks for a pair of pumpkin donuts. The smell of the donut was pleasantly intense with spicy nutmeg and faint cinnamon wafting by. It was similar to the scent of a fresh baked banana or zucchini bread straight from of the oven. Images of roast turkeys, mittens, hot cocoa, and the Holiday Crate and Barrel catalog permeated my brain. Yes, I want a fifty dollar silver reindeer candelabra to validate my life.
The donut has a thin sheen of sugar glaze which cracked slightly when I bit into the fried cake donut. This was a very welcoming texture and the sweet glaze was just right, not heavy like a frosting. The cake was moist and perfectly dense. Shit, this was a good donut methinks.
The taste of the donut was at the same “Oh. Em. Gee.” level. It was a great hit of autumn spices and a tinge of nuttiness. I really enjoyed the fact the sweetness of the cake came from the translucent sugary coat. Dunkin’ Donuts was smart in not making the batter overly sweet and letting the spices do the singing and the sugar glaze perform its respective job.
The donut was still warm and practically melted in my mouth with each bite. Instead of a pumpkin pie, I actually want a box of these on Thanksgiving which I am sure some hipster already has thought of doing so he can look so “emo” and ironic-like. Screw you and your collection of Cut Copy t-shirts.
I left the other in the bag and would eat it the next morning while watching my DVR’d episodes of The Venture Bros. Did they hold up? For the most part, yes albeit a bit stale in texture but that’s to be expected. The comforting smell was still present and the taste was not affected. I would actually dunk these in milk or an espresso just to compensate for the slight dryness in the cake. Like Henchman 21, you can depend on these being a crowd pleaser. The pumpkin donut is definitely one of the things you want to put in your mouth this season.
(Nutritional Facts – 340 calories, 170 calories from fat, 19 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 mg of cholesterol, 260 mg of sodium, 38 grams of total carbs, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 19 grams of sugar, and 3 grams of protein.)
Item: Dunkin’ Donuts Pumpkin Donut
Price: approximately 80 cents a donut
Size: 1 donut
Purchased at: Dunkin’ Donuts
Rating: 9 out of 10
Pros: The texture and the thin coat of sugar smartly combine into something close to mouth-feel nirvana. Steven Seagal was Above the Law and Hard to Kill. The taste is a pleasant pumpkin spice flavor that you will want to visit again. Dr. Girlfriend is really sexy if you put her on mute. This donut will invoke the holidays and make you feel festive. Cut Copy just rules, especially their second album.
Cons: This donut is only available for a short while. Steven Seagal is now Eating Burritos and is Huevos Rancheros Crazy. You need to buy from the right Dunkin’ Donuts (hint: go to the one near a hospital or other businesses that guarantee foot traffic all day and not just the morning). Brock Samson-less episodes kind of blow. Invoking thoughts of holidays suck when the only memories you have is arguing with Dad and “uncles” passing out on bitter egg nog.