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Don't forget the beignets

By Kathleen Pierce
Globe Correspondent / March 9, 2011

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Old-fashioned doughnuts have their place, ditto glazed and jelly. But sometimes you crave a doughnut that does not look like what is on the racks at Dunkin’ Donuts. Savvy pastry chefs around town are turning the lowly staple into a gourmet experience, with or without the hole.

Swissbäkers For the best doughnuts north of Boston, you must speak German. The Berliners ($1.75) from this all-natural European bakery are a healthier alternative to beignets. Made with bread dough and filled with chocolate ganache or preserves such as raspberry apricot, blueberry, and apple, they do not weigh you down. With half the calories and fat of traditional doughnuts, better take two. 32 Lincoln St., Reading, 781-354-1155, www.swissbakers.com.

Formaggio Kitchen Too pretty to dunk into your morning Joe, lemon curd doughnuts filled with vanilla frosting and sprinkled with toasted coconut are the breakfast du jour at this Huron Village market. When assistant baker Mary Murphy made a batch one Saturday last summer, her creative wave became the pride of the pastry case. Varieties such as kaffir lime cream with toasted coconut and pumpkin cream with graham cracker crumbs are heavenly hits. Available Saturdays only (filled $3.95, with hole $1.95). Formaggio Kitchen, 244 Huron Ave., Cambridge, 617-354-4750, www.formaggiokitchen.com.

Susu Bakery Boutique The doughnut muffin is a breakfast hybrid that has crept onto bakers’ shelves of late. But no one makes this cakey treat with a sugary doughnut exterior as tantalizing as Wellesley baker Susu Aylward. Flecked with nutmeg and cinnamon, brushed with melted butter and rolled in sugar, it’s the best of both treats. Available in cinnamon, raspberry, blueberry, and lemon curd ($1.50 for a mini, $2.50 for regular). 575 Washington St., Wellesley, 781-237-7977, www.susubakery.com.

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