Friday, December 26, 2008

The Fractured Prune and other magical fruits

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Fractured Prune:

Located at 8254 High St. N.E., Warren, OH 44484, I found out about this store from a post on the Cleveland Food and Wine Forum hosted by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. There has been much discussion about finding a place where the donuts are made fresh and served hot. Nerve44 was good enough to post a link to the Fractured Prune's website. It was here I discovered that not too far from my house was an actual location. Thinking to myself that it would make an excellent day trip (is 45 minutes each way too far for a fantastically good donut?), I resigned that I would try them very soon.

As it turns out, I have the day off of work today ... and absolutely nothing on my schedule. No gifts to return, no malls to visit, no family obligations. At around 9 am it dawns on me: TODAY would be an excellent day for a food outing. In addition, the Fractured Prune was also on my way to another restaurant that I've been dying to get to in the last six years in Buffalo, NY. More about that in my next post.

So, I downloaded all the maps and contact information onto my G1 and headed out the door around 10:15 am. Everything went pretty smoothly on the drive over until I missed my exit onto Route 46. Oops. And of course, the next exit was another 5 miles down the road. But, in the end, I got there around 11:10 or so and was duly rewarded for my patience.

From what I had read, the place was always swamped with regulars, so I kind of figured that I wouldn't be able to get the face time with the person behind the counter to talk about their product. But I was fortunate to hit them exactly at a window where I was the only one in the store. The store's owner, Wendy, warmly greeted me and when she found out that I had driven all the way from Akron just to try them out quickly offered me one of their signature glazed donuts on the house.

Before I get to the donuts, a little bit of what I observed when I walked into the store. First, there are maybe 2 or 3 tables, not many, but most people are probably taking their donuts on the go. Behind the counter on the left is where the donuts are deposited into the oil, move along and come out the other side. I was surprised at how quickly this happens. From start to finish my donut was ready within about 1-2 minutes. I realized that to get this speed, the donuts are smaller than other competitors, but they are still a decent size (you'll see in the photos). To the right is the dipping and topping station where you can choose from 15 glazes, 7 toppings, and 3 sugars. If my math is correct (and it *always* is), if you choose a glaze, a topping, and a sugar, that's 315 possible combinations.

Besides donuts, they also offer bagels and breakfast sandwich combinations as well as a more decadent scoop of ice cream on top of your hot donut type dessert. While they all sounded good, I was here for the donuts.

Now let's get on to the good stuff, the donuts. First off, the glazed donut.

This was SO good, and in my opinion the best of the three that I tried. Crispy on the outside, hot and creamy on the inside, with just enough sweetness from the glaze. All of the donuts they offer are based on the same cake donut batter, so don't bother asking about any yeast-raised donuts. The paper plate it was served on was just your standard small paper plate you can get at any grocery store ... just to give you some perspective on the size of the actual donut.

Next up, the Chocolate Covered Cherry donut.

By the time she brought over the finished donut, the mini chocolate chips had started to melt. They were in that state between hard and soft. Also quite delicious. Although I discovered that with any of the donuts with the glazes that they could get a little messy when they were still hot. But OH so worth it.

Finally, I asked Wendy about one of their other popular donuts on the menu. She indicated that the Blueberry Hill donut was very popular. Consisting of a blueberry glaze and powdered sugar, this one looked like:

I thought it was better than the chocolate covered cherry, but not as good as that stellar glazed donut that I started with.

I did ask Wendy about the type of oil they used to fry their donuts in and she told me that they used vegetable shortening for now. However, the franchise is currently in the process of finding a trans-fat free oil to use in its place in short order.

Overall, I had a great experience at the Fractured Prune. The counter service was friendly, helpful, and willing to answer all my questions. Not to mention, the product was incredibly delicious. And because the donuts themselves aren't overly large, you can try several and see which one is your favorite.


Nancy Heller said...

Awesome blog Tino! Keep it coming!

Randi said...

Robin and I went to The Donught Plant in NYC and while they were good, I didnt find them worth the 2.50 and 2.75 price tag.

Tino said...

Randi --

These were much cheaper than The Doughnut Plant (and probably smaller, too). The glazed was complimentary, but the other two donuts + a bottle of water was less than $3 total.

Paying more than $2 for a donut does seem to be extreme (unless they really are THAT good).