Chef/Owner Thomas Malz hadn’t imagined that the Yeast Donuts he created would serve as Custom Deluxe’s signature. “This dessert was the first dish that felt like our own—not an imitation, but an expression, the one that I feel represents us best—and it’s a flippin’ doughnut,” he says. The dessert starts with warm applesauce made from apples cooked simply with granulated sugar, allspice and nutmeg. While the applesauce is warmed, a fresh yeast doughnut is fried to order. Once both are plated, he dusts a layer of grated maple-rubbed cheddar over top. Then a rich maple mousse, boasting a consistency of frozen custard, goes down. Here’s where the genius lies: a garnish of cider ice, microplaned from frozen blocks of applesauce, Maine cider, cider vinegar and cracked black pepper. “From bottom to top, the dish is built from contrasting flavors, textures and temperatures,” says Malz. “The robust acidity from the applesauce is a great counter to the crispy, fried goodness of the doughnut; the astringency of a good cheddar pairs well with the richness of the mousse; and the creaminess of the mousse is cut by the acid and texture of the cider ice. The black pepper was at first an accident, but somehow it completes the dish, adding the bang.” The dessert has been a runaway hit since its relatively spontaneous inception. “It will always be a favorite,” he says.
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