“You just have to be super confident when you approach this task,” says Kora founder Kimberly Camara. She’s flipping a large tray of flan from one pan to another for the shop’s flan doughnut. It’s because of unique flavors like this that the New York-based Filipino doughnut shop has a 10,000-person waitlist.
“Kora is my grandmother’s name,” says Camara. “The leche flan recipe is from my grandmother’s cookbook that I found after she passed away.” This doughnut begins with a brioche dough. Once the doughnut is formed, Kevin Borja, Camara’s partner at the shop and in life, cuts a hole in it, and adds flan cream. Next, an entire round piece of flan is added to the center.
“I don’t know how I came up with it, honestly. I think what it came down to is they wouldn’t be actually experiencing the flan unless there was an actual flan in it.” The top of the doughnut is brushed with caramel and dusted with powdered sugar. “We basically got two desserts here in one,” says Borja.
Another creative doughnut inspired by Camara’s heritage is a glossy purple ube doughnut. “We had to have ube on our menu, I already knew this. You can’t pass that vibrant purple color,” says Camara. After the brioche dough with ube extract is made, Camara creates an ube pastry cream with milk, cornstarch ube extract, and frozen ube imported from the Philippines. The doughnut is fried, filled with the cream, rolled in sugar and topped with fried purple yam chips. “I think when a lot of people make ube desserts, I feel like they don’t go hard, they don’t take it all the way home. Every component of our doughnut has ube somewhere in it”
“Kora is the coming together of my entire life. There is no way that my grandmother is looking down on us and isn’t so proud of all of the work that we’ve done,” says Camara. “Wherever Kora takes us, behind all of it is my connection with her and my connection with my heritage.”
Check out the full video to see more of what goes on behind the scenes at Kora.