Ocean City, Maryland is more than just a town of sand and sea. All along Coastal Highway, the main drag of the city, lie rows and rows of places to eat- fast food, sit-down, bars, cafés. Although some are certainly tacky, apropos of a beach town, there are some gems tucked amongst all the crab shacks. To my surprise, it wasn’t the Maryland crabs that struck me most, but instead, donuts from The Fractured Prune.
The shop was small and cramped, but nevertheless cute. The line went out the door during the morning rush, past the shop’s signature sign of a quirky cartoon prune wearing shades and a bandage. As more and more people ordered, they had to crowd to the sides to wait for their donuts. Behind the counter, employees worked swiftly and efficiently filling boxes with hand-dipped donuts. Each customer was given a playing card from a deck when they ordered and was called by the number and suit instead of by name. When the king of clubs was called, I went to get my donuts. To my surprise, the box was hot—not luke warm, but hot! At that point, I couldn’t wait any longer to sink my teeth into a donut. Fortunately, it did not disappoint. The donuts were warm and golden throughout. When I bit into the first one, I could taste the soft buttery cake on the inside, complemented by the crisp perfectly fried outside. When I looked at it, I could even see the butter glistening off the dough. Although the wait felt long, I decided that in the end it was well worth it.
Each donut at The Fractured Prune is made fresh to order. They are churned individually out of a machine. Then, still hot, they are dipped by hand in a glaze and a topping. Glazes include, but are not limited to, caramel, chocolate, peanut butter, mixed berry, banana, and maple, while toppings consist of chocolate chips, rainbow sprinkles, chocolate jimmies, coconut flakes, graham crackers, and Oreo cookie pieces. There is also a choice of sugars: powdered, granulated, or cinnamon sugar. You can choose your own combination of toppings or select from a list of specialties that have already been created. The pre-made combinations range from simple, like mocha glaze with Oreo pieces, to more complex, such as banana glaze with cinnamon sugar and peanuts. There is even one called Plain Jane, which is just a plain donut without any toppings. Frankly, the donuts have such a rich flavor on their own that they would taste great even without any toppings or glazes at all.
I tried a maple glaze with cinnamon sugar and graham cracker pieces, as well as a peanut butter glaze with rainbow sprinkles. The maple glaze was subtle. It gave the donut a hint of extra flavor, but the buttery taste of the donut itself was stronger than that of the glaze. The cinnamon sugar gave the donut more texture, as the sugar crystals added some crunch, while the graham crackers were crushed so small that they were closer to a powder than pieces, not providing much added texture. The peanut butter glaze was a little more palpable, but still not overpowering. I think that peanut butter flavor in general is just more robust than maple. And the sprinkles gave the donut a nice extra chewiness. Overall, the glazes were subtle. They were not thick frostings, so the flavor of the donut didn't rely on that of the frosting. The toppings gave the donuts a little character, some more striking than others, but the taste and texture of a plain one would still be delectable.
The donuts at The Fractured Prune were the best donuts I have ever had. They were served hot and fresh, fried perfectly crisp with a supple center. And the flavor combinations were endless. On the one hand, it is atrocious that there is no Fractured Prune in New York or Philadelphia, depriving such substantial cities of this delicious fried goodness. On the other hand, it is probably a good thing, as it would be difficult for me to resist buying a donut every day.Tweet