Americans have long embraced Greek dishes, like gyros and baklava. Now, with diners seeking new flavor experiences, it makes sense to push further into regional flavors, delighting guests with unique combinations. It makes even more sense to keep it approachable by using a familiar format as the carrier.
At Ousia, a Greek-inspired shareable plates concept in New York, the Donut Pikilia sampler offers three doughnuts: Halva Mousse with hazelnut chocolate, Mastiha Yogurt Mousse with pistachio glaze and Spiced Apple.
“What makes this a success is taking an American favorite and showing our customers a unique way in which it can be enjoyed,” says Enrico Livanos, Manager. “Taking flavors from Greece and packing them in a doughnut is fun for us—and fun for the customer. People nowadays want to explore new cuisines and new flavors, and when they see an ingredient they don’t recognize, they become intrigued. The combination of the American doughnut with our favorites from Greece works for everyone.”
- The Halva Mousse doughnut is inspired by the Greek stuffed croissant, which he says is found in the bakeries of Crete. “The Halva Mousse includes tahini, which has a strong roasted-nut flavor, mellowed out by the honey—and when you combine nuts with chocolate, you create a combination that we all recognize and love,” he says.
- The Mastiha Yogurt Mousse version features Greek yogurt and mastiha, a resinous spice with undertones of pine that can only be found on the Greek island of Chios. “The pairing works perfectly with pistachios, inspired by the evergreen tree that mastiha is made from, which can only be described as a combination of pine tree and pistachio tree,” says Livanos.
- The third doughnut offers up an American experience—the Spiced Apple doughnut features apple compote spiced with star anise and cinnamon.
Now a permanent fixture on the dinner menu, the Donut Pikilia, which means “variety” in Greek, started out as a brunch item. “People’s eyes lit up as we walked the board of doughnuts from the kitchen to the table,” says Livanos.
“One day we made a large batch and had extra going into dinner. So we decided to let our dinner guests try them out. Every table had the opportunity to taste our doughnuts, and the feedback was excellent.”