Sarah Hamilton spent a recent Wednesday afternoon busily cutting fresh rhubarb in the basement of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Whitehorse. Beside her was Fiona McTaggart, equally hard at work preparing a batch of doughnuts.
Together, the long-time friends own Sourdoughnuts, a popular artisan pop-up doughnut shop located in Yukon’s capital city.
The pair, who are also both musicians, decided to launch the business in 2017, with Hamilton flexing skills she learned in pastry school and McTaggart drawing on her experience working at a doughnut shop in Montreal.
“Sarah and I both wanted to quit our jobs, which were great jobs, but we were just ready to move on,” McTaggart said in a recent interview.
“We were just having fun making doughnuts at home and we were like, ‘hey, we should start a business.’”
Now, once a week, locals line up at the Fireweed Community Market in the summer or head to the church year-round to buy a box of the tasty treats.
McTaggart said they produce around 1,200 doughnuts at a time. They get some assistance from her partner, who is also Hamilton's brother, along with Hamilton's mother and some of their friends.
“I think fried dough is just beloved by all people everywhere,” McTaggart said of their success. “And we think we make a great product."
Sourdoughnuts, the business owners contend, don't resemble the offerings available at your average coffee shop.
Hamilton and McTaggart's products are made with sourdough, which has a long history in the Yukon dating back to the Klondike Gold Rush where it was a staple for prospectors. That one ingredient, they say, makes their pastries unique.
Hamilton said the sourdough starter they use is around 80 years old and originated from Germany. They obtained it from their friend Michele Genest, a writer and chef known as the Boreal Gourmet.
“We found that it really, really affects our yield and the texture of the doughnuts," Hamilton said.
The women also aren’t afraid to experiment with bold flavours, often incorporating local ingredients like cranberries when they are in season. Alongside classics – the most popular being Boston cream – other flavours that have appeared on the Sourdoughnuts' menu include Pink Crush, blood orange, blue Hawaiian, and grasshopper pie.
The strangest flavor they’ve tried? Flaming hot Cheetos.
“It didn’t turn out as expected but glad we tried it,” McTaggart said.
Sourdoughnuts also has mini doughnuts, vegan and gluten free options on the menu.
-- By Emily Blake in Yellowknife
This report by The Canadian Press was first published August 7, 2022.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
The Canadian Press