Doughnuts are one of the most widely available pastries, thanks to a certain national chain that makes them all day and all night. Standout doughnuts, on the other hand, are a rare breed. Here are five Long Island bakeries that lavish their skill on making a doughnut worth getting up early for. In fact, you can't dawdle when on the hunt for a great doughnut; most of these bakeries sell out by noon.
Since 1979, Austrian-born Franz Steiner has presided over Steiner's Pastry Shop, a magnet for lovers of traditional European sweets. But he also excels in that most American confection: the doughnut. Nothing fancy here, just classic doughnuts dusted with powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar. They're tender, full-flavored and not too sweet. Available plain ($1.55) or filled with black raspberry preserves ($1.75) that Steiner imports from Europe.
DUDEK POLISH BAKERY 1635 Great Neck Rd., Copiague, 631-841-3465, and 1905 Great Neck Rd., Copiague, 631-789-1945
Co-owner Krystyna Dudkiewicz wouldnt say anything about the dough for these rich and tender Polish paczki (90 cents) other than that it was top secret. But she spilled about the fillings: fruit marmalades imported from Poland. In addition to cherry and blueberry, Dudek fills a doughnut with a marmalade of white rose petals.
B. PRESTANO'S BAKERY 593 Rte. 25A, Rocky Point, 631-849-3475
After scoring with chocolate-covered bacon, bacon brownies and bacon cupcakes, this 5-year-old bakery took the logical next step: maple-bacon doughnuts ($2). The doughnuts are dipped in a glaze made with real maple syrup, then topped, generously, with applewood-smoked bacon. "It tastes like pancakes and syrup with bacon," said co-owner Barbara Prestano Henry. "A perfect breakfast."
FRITZSCHE'S BAKERY 56 Main St., Sayville, 631-589-0586
Sayville has been savoring this old-school bakery since Kurt Fritzsche's father, Georg, opened it in 1926. The doughnuts are legendary, and for good reason. The moist, airy French crullers (90 cents) are made not with yeast dough but with egg-leavened choux (cream-puff) dough and then glazed with either chocolate or vanilla. On Thursdays, customers line up for the fragrant apple-cinnamon doughnuts ($1.10).
SPIGA BAKERY 2685 Merrick Rd., Bellmore, 516-557-2688
Luca Caravello goes way beyond glazed at this 6-year-old Italian bakery. Favorites include the cream pie doughnut ($1.75), filled with Italian custard and topped with ganache, and the banana-Nutella doughnut ($1.75), filled with banana-flavored Italian custard, iced with Nutella, then drizzled with more Nutella. New for 2014 is the inis, a Sicilian zeppola that's rolled in sugar and bread crumbs before it's filled with cannoli cream ($3.75)