Location: 161 Baldwin Street, Toronto
Though Dipped Donuts has been serving their tasty treats at various events throughout the city for a few years, they’ve only just recently opened a permanent outpost in Kensington Market.
They keep things pretty simple; as far as I can tell, they only serve classic raised doughnuts — nothing with a cakey base, and on the day I visited, nothing filled (though they do have filled doughnuts in their rotation).
Their menu mostly consists of quirky flavours like rosewater pistachio, mango ginger, and London fog.
I tried the blueberry basil, and yeah, it’s good. The doughnut itself is a little bit more dense and chewy than the norm, which is actually quite satisfying.
The glaze was seriously delicious, though I’ll admit that I couldn’t taste any basil flavour. It was bright and fruity, with a mild tartness and a pronounced blueberry flavour. It’s also admirably restrained in its sweetness; it’s basically the polar opposite of the in-your-face sugar bombs you’ll find at Krispy Kreme.
Most of the time, I’m ready to tap out from the sweetness after one doughnut. Here, I could have happily eaten another one (or two).
Location: 4750 Yonge Street – Unit 119, North York
I’ve mentioned before that the Japanese Netflix TV show, Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman (about a Japanese businessman who’s obsessed with dessert), is pretty much the best. It’s frequently hilarious and features some mesmerizing food porn, not to mention enough slickly-shot footage of Tokyo to make you want to get on the next flight. It’s great.
He eats at least one dessert per episode, and it all looks amazing. Sadly, much of it is really difficult (if not impossible) to find in the GTA.
One of the desserts he eats is called ohagi, and you can actually find it at HCafe, a tiny little Japanese dessert shop near Yonge and Sheppard.
It’s pretty unique. It features a ball of chewy rice (a mix of glutinous rice and regular rice) surrounded by a sweet red bean paste.
It’s not quite like any dessert I’ve ever had — it’s chewy, almost like mochi, but with a coarser texture thanks to the grains of rice. The sweetness is very subtle, and though the flavour is mostly beany, there’s an underlying fruitiness.
It’s odd, but also surprisingly delicious. If you like mochi, this hits a lot of the same notes.
Location: 1285 Elgin Mills Road East, Richmond Hill
Is key lime pie the king of pies? It might be! The contrast between the tart filling, the sweet graham cracker crust, and the creamy topping is absolutely magical when done well. I have a hard time saying no when I see it on a menu.
And La Rocca Creative Kitchen — which serves the type of little pastries that look so nice it’s almost a shame to eat them — makes a really good one.
It’s a little bit untraditional. The typical whipped cream topping is subbed out for creamy Italian meringue, and the crust is made from speculoos cookies instead of graham cracker.
It’s great. Sometimes a key lime pie’s crust can be too substantial or dry, but this had the perfect level of crunch without getting in the way, and the flavour of the speculoos set it apart from the norm.
The dense, creamy Italian meringue might even be better than whipped cream. Certainly, it does a perfect job of balancing out the tart key lime custard.
And the custard was just right — it’s sweet and creamy, with just the right amount of tartness. It’s good stuff.
Location: 3160 Steeles Avenue East, Markham
Sasaki Fine Pastry is the latest gem I’ve discovered thanks to the inimitable Suresh Doss, who specializes in sussing out the best non-Western eats in the city, usually out in the ‘burbs. If you’re on Twitter and you’re not following him, I don’t even know what you’re doing with your life.
Sasaki specializes in daifuku, a Japanese dessert in which soft, chewy mochi is stuffed with various sweet fillings. On this particular visit they had seven flavours available; I tried mango cream, strawberry cream, yuzu cream, and sesame cream.
It’s easily the best mochi I’ve ever had. I like mochi, but it can sometimes be a little too gummy. But the version here had a delightfully delicate chew that almost melts in your mouth.
The subtly sweet, creamy fillings were all great, though the strawberry — which featured a mixture of strawberry cream and sweet red bean filling — was the highlight.
I also tried the red bean and cream doriyaki, which features a filling of sweet red bean and whipped cream that’s sandwiched between two little pancakes. Like the daifuki, this was super fresh, subtly sweet, and extremely delicious.
Location: 12 Oxley Street, Toronto
I just had a slice of the mille crepe cake from Millie Patisserie, and it was so incredibly delicious that I’m pretty sure I can never eat dessert again. I mean, what’s the point? It’s all garbage to me now. Mille crepe cake 4 eva.
In case you’re not familiar with a mille crepe cake, it’s a magical creation in which crepes and custardy cream are layered on top of each other until you wind up with something that looks like a cake.
The version they’re serving at Millie Patisserie is next level. It’s insanely good.
On this particular visit, they had four varieties: vanilla bean, tiramisu, earl gray, and matcha. I went with vanilla bean, and holy crap it was amazing.
The custard between the crepe layers was crazy delicious. It was rich and creamy, with an intense custardy flavour and the perfect amount of vanilla. Just give me a spoon and a bucket of this stuff and I’ll eat it until I literally explode.
The tender crepes are just as good, with a very light chewiness that compliments the custard perfectly. The proportion of both is just right; it’s the perfect balance of creaminess and substance and amazingness. It was easily one of the best desserts I’ve had in ages.
It’s not cheap, however. One slice comes up to a bit over ten bucks with tax, which is so much that I almost left the store without ordering anything. But man, it is absolutely, positively worth it. Aside from the fact that it’s ridiculously delicious, the quality of ingredients they’re working with is obviously high, and I have to imagine that making one of these things is quite labour intensive. There are so many layers and they’re all so perfect.