Anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for a good pastry. I waited in line for the cronut (worth it), and carried a box of Levain cookies through Canadian customs (also worth it). So, when I found out there was a bakery making jelly doughnuts filled to ORDER, I knew I had to get there. Like, immediately. Cue Orwasher’s!
Orwasher’s is an East Side staple. It’s been at its 78th Street location for nearly a century, and has established itself as one of the best in NYC. The owner, Keith Cohen, was trained in Paris and actually refers to himself as a “bread architect.” How great is that?!
When you walk in, it’s easy to get distracted by all the magic in front of you. Bread lines the walls in every form you could imagine: ciabatta, baguettes, rounds and loaves. There’s a whole shelf of pastries and black & white cookies…even a wall of artisanal jams and antipasti. And don’t get me started on the SMELL. Pure heaven!
I was on a strict jelly doughnut mission (the greatest mission of all), so I set my sights on the left corner of the store. The lovely woman behind the counter gave me the scoop on all things doughnuts: Orwasher’s bakes their pastry in-house daily. If you want yours filled (and of course you do, because HELLO), you choose between a plain doughnut dusted in white sugar, and a chocolate-topped doughnut.
From there, you pick your jam.
The Orwasher’s advantage? They use jam GUNS to fill their doughnuts. That’s right y’all, JAM GUNS. These huge syringe-like contraptions inject the doughnut with the perfect ratio of filling to pastry. And it’s not just any filling. Orwasher’s sources all their jam locally and doesn’t use any artificial ingredients.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. $4.25 for a single doughnut?! Sure, it’s pricey, but you’ll eat your words (literally) when that doughnut weighs as much as a small toddler. They’re liberal with their filling here, and once you taste it, $4.25 will seem like a steal. One bite took me back to childhood, and the long, lazy summer mornings my mom would make jam in our Seattle kitchen. It’s bursting with flavor and natural sweetness, and if that’s not enough, its wrapped inside a light, chewy, delicious doughnut and covered in sugar. Or chocolate. Honestly, what could be better?!
Next time you find yourself on the Upper East Side, give Orwasher’s a try! Jelly doughnut or not, you’ll be glad you did.
Orwashers Bakery. 308 E. 78th Street, NYC. (212) 288-6569. www.orwashers.com.