During these extraordinary times, I’m sure you know that there comes a breaking point when a bite of comfort is inevitable, and when that breaking point comes, one must succumb to the pull of the palate.
I have been dreaming about the elusive St. JOHN Custard Doughnuts for a while now, which are filled with a silky vanilla dream cream. I ate these on a gray London afternoon, pavements spangled with drizzle, hands occupied with bags, but I managed to greedily stuff one of these precious pastries inside my eager maw. Such a moment is emblazoned in my memory forever, like a letter seal kissing hot wax.
It’s been five months since that moment. Now that I’ve been back and locked down in Singapore, I have been wistfully thinking about those St. JOHN doughnuts, so when my friend Celina told me that Burnt Ends started selling their Vanilla Cream Doughnuts online for pick-up, I was not one to think twice.
Not only did I order Vanilla Cream Doughnuts (SG$25.70 for half a dozen) yes, plural with an “s”, but I also ordered half a dozen of their Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies (SG$12.90) and Scones (SG$19.30 for half a dozen) with two tiny pots of Vanilla Chantilly Cream (SG$2.20 per pot) to accompany the scones. You might think I’m a mad fool for splurging on this sinful haul.
Well, maybe I am. And now, for the burning question, “was it worth it?”.
The Brown Butter Chocolate Chip cookies were easily enjoyable. I mean, this is Michelin-starred Asia’s-10th-Best World’s-59th-Best Burnt Ends we are talking about here, surely they cannot fuck up a humble chocolate chip cookie, right? Sporting a nice crumb and chew, you could tell the chocolate used was high-grade (as it should be). In the car on the way home, that decadent melted chocolate scent wafted right into my nostrils. I could spot a deep, almost grape-y character. I could imagine a bold glass of pinot to pair with it. But this is a chocolate chip cookie meant to be enjoyed with the giddiness of a 7-year-old whose itchy hands have found their way into grandma’s cookie jar filled with a freshly-baked batch.
When I got home, I poured myself a glass of super-cold full-fat Meiji milk and ate the cookie with it. Correction, the cookie was so gooey and fat, that I broke it into pieces, dunked them into my cold milk, and ate them with a soup spoon. I felt my whole body shiver and thank me for such a treat. You could say my afternoon was splendid and my gaze was sugar-laced.
Now, for the Vanilla Cream Doughnuts. You must remember that I am operating with the tastebuds of someone who worships St. JOHN’s fare. I also enjoyed the St. JOHN Custard Doughnuts in a decadently picturesque mundane moment. Ah, the irony of the ordinary (moment) and the extraordinary (St. JOHN Custard Doughnut) combined.
The Burnt Ends Vanilla Cream Doughnut was topnotch. Possibly the best doughnut I’ve had in Singapore. I found the sugar to be a bit too much, though. It felt like chewing sweet broken glass, so I had to gingerly wipe the excess sugar off. Also, I thought it was better the next day (fun fact: I also saved a St. JOHN Custard Doughnut to consume the next day and thought it was better, too). If I have the patience (and extras), I usually prefer eating next-day doughnuts (even Krispy Kreme’s Original Glazed). I’ve learned that leaving them out overnight in room temperature brings out more of the doughy flavour that I personally enjoy, but it’s just a matter of personal preference.
The Burnt Ends doughnut base is made with a brioche recipe, so it was spot-on in fluffiness and chew. The filling was delicious—light yet luxurious. I really love messy treats; pastries that are creamy yet simple done right. Many think I am someone who is attracted to more complex flavors and jams and compotes, but I am every bit a vanilla girl, who will 90% always choose the vanilla gelato or the vanilla tart, or the vanilla doughnut. Lemon curd is another story.
The most pleasurable of the bunch? The scones. I love scones; never complete without clotted cream and a tasty pot of preserves. Burnt Ends’s come with a crumbly exterior and a moister-than-most center—which I enjoyed very, very much. I kept these in the fridge when I bought them and popped them in the oven for about 5-7 minutes. Slightly salty with a smattering of their Vanilla Chantilly Cream and berry preserves, I was in Nirvana, gobbling up scone after scone into my mouth, savoring each bite with so much ecstatic bliss in its most superlative forms. If we were to be purists and pit the Burnt Ends scone against a traditional one, it wouldn’t probably make the cut, but this was truly one of the best scones I’ve had. Fuck.
It must be made known that I am lactose intolerant, but the indulgence was so worth it despite the post-day suffering (especially the scones, OMG, you must have it with the Vanilla Chantilly Cream!). All made better with a tall glass of cold, full-fat milk, preferably from Meiji.
Burnt Ends (Bakery)
20 Teck Lim Rd, Singapore 088391
+65 6224 3933