To perfect his potato doughnut recipe, Hops & Pie chef and co-owner Drew Watson says he fried up what felt like millions of batches of ringed dough over the past four years.
“I’ve been making them around the clock at home. My kitchen was like a doughnut factory,” he says. “In the middle of the night, my wife (Hops & Pie co-owner Leah Watson) would be up with the baby, and I’d be in the kitchen making doughnuts. It was nonstop.”
Come February, Denverites will get to taste his take on potato doughnuts—sometimes called spudnuts —at Berkeley Donuts, located inside Hops & Pie on Tennyson Street. As the name implies, the doughnuts have actual potatoes, in addition to flour, in the dough. Adding mashed spuds to the batter boosts moisture, sweetness, and flavor, as well as creating a crispy outside layer thanks to the potato’s natural sugars caramelizing in the fryer. Watson will use Colorado-grown potatoes from Jones Farm in Hooper.
“It’s kind of like biting into a French fry,” he says. “There’s a little crunch.”
Watson first tried the New England treat while in Maine for a bachelor party. After one bite of cult-favorite the Holy Donut’s potato doughnut, Watson became “really, really obsessed.” Ever since, he has been mixing, frying, and dirtying his kitchen in an attempt to make the best possible version.
When Berkeley Donuts opens next month, Watson will sell more than a dozen daily flavors of sourdough-raised, cake, vegan, and gluten-free doughnuts—all made with potatoes. The flavors will range from traditional glazed to not-so-traditional varieties like chocolate with Hatch green chiles and dulce de leche; brown butter with Rice Krispies; and sourdough topped with the bourbon sauce Hops & Pie drizzles over its bread pudding.
If you need something even more substantial than those, the shop will also make a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich served on—you guessed it—a doughnut.
The treats will be available mornings only, Wednesday through Sunday, beginning at 7:30 a.m. until they sell out. “They’re just so good,” Watson says. “I hope people keep an open mind, because they’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
3920 Tennyson St.