It’s a ‘Ho Ho Honut’, but will the unique Hornchurch festive treat bring Christmas cheer?

PUBLISHED: 16:25 19 December 2014 | UPDATED: 17:16 19 December 2014

Deck the halls with boughs of holly - and doughnuts  (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Deck the halls with boughs of holly - and doughnuts (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)


“You wouldn’t want to eat one, really – I’ve tried about four and even I don’t like them.”

There was no going back by this point  (photo: Arnaud Stephenson) There was no going back by this point (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

Bold words from the baker behind possibly this Christmas’s most controversial treat – the gravy-filled “Ho Ho Honut”.

Proving literally everything can be festive if you want it enough, this Christmas doughnut is the creation of independent bakers Godfrey’s of Hornchurch.

Sage flavoured dough is where it all starts, before the maple syrup drenched bacon, turkey dust and cranberry sauce are deposited on the top.

Then, most controversially, comes the gravy, which is injected into the treat and made “three or four” times denser than normal to mimic jam, according to masterchef bakery founder Mark Godfrey.

Kate and Mark, the man responsible, from Godfrey's Bakery  (photo: Arnaud Stephenson) Kate and Mark, the man responsible, from Godfrey's Bakery (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

His son, 25-year-old Christopher, cooked up the idea earlier this week and Mark – with his 24 years experience as a baker – quickly rustled up a few batches.

But the results, perhaps predictably, weren’t so great, with Mark describing the Honut as “a bit of a contradiction because I’m used to doughnuts being sweet”.

The 53-year-old adds: “We’ve not actually got them out in stores because we think people will bring them back.”

But following interest in the festive treats, the family business has revised the view and produced a few for its outlets around the borough.

The 100-year-old bakery where the doughnuts are made (photo: Arnaud Stephenson) The 100-year-old bakery where the doughnuts are made (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

“As far as we’re aware it’s completely new,” says Mark, “and if we’d thought about it earlier I think we could have created a bit of a storm over it.”

Fortunately there’s no shortage of themed public holidays for future doughnut hybrids.

Next up is Valentine’s Day. So prepare yourself for “heart-shaped valiballs and valnuts”, Mark warns.

“Ho Ho Honuts”, priced at £2.25, are available at the eight Godfrey’s Bakeries across Romford and Hornchurch while stocks last.

Reporter Sebastian Mann tries the honut (photo: Arnaud Stephenson) Reporter Sebastian Mann tries the honut (photo: Arnaud Stephenson)

What Recorder reporter Sebastian Mann thought about the Christmas treat

I decided to divest myself of expectations before tucking into the “Ho Ho Honut” .

A gravy doughnut is more than unusual – I’m pretty sure it’s never been done before. It’s never occurred to anyone, and no one’s ever tasted it.

It felt reasonable, therefore, that I’d have literally no idea what it would be like.

I was still surprised.

On its own, the candied bacon and cranberry topping is quite pleasant, and could easily be from a regular north American dessert.

And the sage infused dough actually wasn’t too bad.

Then came the burst of gravy filling. It’s been made extra thick so it doesn’t saturate the dough and retains a jam-like consistency. But this also means it’s been made extra strong. And salty. And this seemed to help lash the overall flavour (now quite upsetting) to my tongue for hours. So my lasting impression was less than positive.

All this being said, I’m not in the least bit disappointed with the efforts of Godfrey’s of Hornchurch. Sure, the outcome wasn’t so great – but sometimes great things are built on the back of failure.

Which is good, because apparently we have more to look forward to come Valentine’s Day.

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