(Note: As I write this, I learned that Pippin Donuts had a major fire since our visit, but are doing well getting back up and running. But please check their website for updated info and their market schedule)
And now for another abrupt change in venues… Last Fall, Carol and I were headed off to England to meet up with relatives and celebrate my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. Like last year’s trip to Réunion, we always like doing a hike, and this time we decided to do a rather long one, hiking the southern half of the Cotswold Way hiking trail, hiking from Painswick (a quiet little Gloucestershire town) to Bath, a distance of approximately 85 miles as we hiked it. It also gave us a good opportunity to catch up with my sister-in-law’s family, who live in the area.
One of our big goals in visiting them again was to visit the Stroud Farmers Market. A lot of towns in the area are traditionally market towns (from way back historically, when only certain towns were designated as such), and Stroud has one of the more vibrant markets with a very impressive list of vendors (alas, one of the vendors I had wanted to see, Trealy Farm, whose owner I had met in Reykjavik of all places, is there on the opposite week from my visit). Particularly, this was a good stop for our trail preparation, since we were able to secure quite a few provisions for the trip, like some good charcuterie, some cheese, and some other trail snacks.
But one of the vendors that was spoken highly of by our hosts was Pippin Doughnuts. Based in nearby Swindon (home of the most famous Swindon Magic Roundabout, a triumph of British roundabout civil engineering), Pippin is really well regarded as a doughnut baker. Indeed, while the doughnut craze worldwide seems to be on the uptick (having finally dispensed with the odd “cake pop” craze) with all sorts of crazy flavors a la Voodoo Donut (Nyquil, anyone?), Pippin is a refreshing return to basics. The basic doughnut of pippin is your filled doughnut. They start with your basic, highly yeasted fluffy donut that has been nicely fried up to a nearly perfect crisp on the outside shell. Inside, the doughnut is filled with your choice of fillings, ranging from custards (both the chocolate and vanilla are particularly good), several jams, or lemon curd. Or they even have a few traditional glazed donuts, like a particularly nice nut-topped glazed donut.
But having a weakness for custard, that’s what I got, with Carol and I opting to share a pair of chocolate and vanilla doughnuts between us thoughtfully purchased by my brother’s in-laws (and my sister-in-laws brother also purchased an impressively large box of doughnuts to take back with him on the train to London). Sitting down later that evening, the doughnuts were still impressively fresh and crispy. And the custard? I love a good, smooth custard, and this was the perfect sort of creamy custard for a good filled donut, moist but somehow not making the donut interior soggy.
Overall, we were delighted by Pippin Doughnuts. If you find yourself in Gloucestershire near the Bristol, Stroud, or Swindon farmers markets, give them a look over and see if Pippin is serving up their donuts. You’ll be glad you did.