Johannesburg’s Tonka Bean Bakery is reportedly giving Krispy Kreme a run for its money with delicious doughnuts piped full of vanilla-bean crème pâtissière.
At first glance you might mistake them for mere deep-fried balls dusted in sugar, but take a closer look: golden brown on the outside, they’re actually filled with oozing smooth vanilla custard, and come highly recommended at the bakery just north of Fourways in Johannesburg.
Tonka Bean’s chef and owner Shakil Khan is the proud creator of these artisanal doughnuts. He measures every ingredient in grams – right down to the eggs. He then mixes and ferments the dough for three hours, lets it rest overnight, hand shapes the doughnuts, and deep fries them at 160°C. “The dough is very similar to a brioche dough into which we incorporate a lot of butter, resulting in a very soft texture,” explains Shakil.
The doughnuts are currently available filled with classic vanilla-bean crème pâtissière, but the bakery is working on new flavours like peanut butter, and dark chocolate and sesame oil. They cost R16 each and are available every day from 9am to 3.30pm.
Every recipe at the bakery is based on French methods and has been carefully thought out by Shakil: “We’re obsessed with French pastry!”
Another treat on the menu is kouign-amann (pronounced ‘queen amaan’), a caramelised pastry with a hint of salt. It can be made in cool conditions only, so is not available on hot days – until the air-conditioning arrives, that is. Team Tonka also bakes fresh croissants made with French butter, which they supply to Melissa’s in Dainfern, along with Greek almond shortbreads and brioche burger buns.
Shakil has hopes for expansion in future, and we can’t wait to see what he and other local eateries will whip up to give international brands some stiff competition.