In July of 1937, Vernon Rudolph arrived in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, with twenty-five dollars in his pocket and a secret recipe for yeast-raised doughnuts. Seventy-five years later, you’ve probably heard of the company he founded, a little outfit called Krispy Kreme. And while the doughnuts are plenty good on their own—especially when the “Hot Now” sign is lit—when we heard about a chef in Greenville, South Carolina, who was blending them, literally, into a traditional crème brûlée, we felt it our sworn duty to investigate. After trying the recipe for ourselves, we’re happy to report Rudolph would likely be proud.
Often on the menu at Nose Dive Gastropub in Greenville, chef Rodney Freidank’s Krispy Kreme crème brûlée elevates the humble doughnut to new heights. It incorporates half a dozen doughnuts (we never said it was good for you), pureed into a traditional base of cream, sugar, and egg yolks, then baked into a custard that mirrors the classic dessert in texture—but with that unmistakably familiar Krispy Kreme taste. The crunchy candy top is added just before serving with either a kitchen torch or a quick run under the broiler. Hot now, indeed.