Unless you’ve been living in a cave you’ve probably heard of the now famous cronuts. They’re the invention of Dominique Ansel of the namesake bakery in Soho and they are taking New York by storm. I’ve never had the actual cronut because they sell out in about 2 minutes every morning and as a result of my apathy for long lines I have absolutely zero reference point. If somebody wants to send me one I will love you forever.
Out of respect for Dominique Ansel I will not post a recipe but just document my experiment. I’m in no way pretending this is as good as his (probably not!) but for the “sport” of figuring things out I attempted to make them at home because, you know, chefs have funny hobbies. Also the cronut craze has generated a bunch of copycat versions in bakeries across the country which seems to annoy the Chef, and it is clearly not my intention to do so. I truly believe that imitation is the highest form of flattery and the attention that it’s getting should be taken as such. We all use techniques that have been invented by others. Once something has gathered so much attention it would be futile and nearly impossible to keep people from re-creating it. It’s true that we rarely thank the people who laid the foundations on which we build on, but how far back would we have to reach to acknowledge the people who invented the croissant and the doughnut? And who’s copying who? Let’s give proper credit and share the love, please.
So what exactly is a cronut? Easy. It’s a 1/2 croissant 1/2 donut. A Franco-American deep-fried “croissant” dough rolled in sugar, filled with cream, and glazed. I mean, really. How could you go wrong with that? It’s a bit more tricky than it sounds though because the butter layers of a regular croissant dough would melt and make a mess in hot oil so the folding technique is a little different.
I opted for a folding method that produces thinner, more stable layers but still gets a bounce from the yeast. After proofing and deep-frying, the layers puff up like donuts and expand like puff pastry. All at the same time.
It’s a success if you can pull whole layers (rings) of dough from top to bottom. It’s as clever as it is delicious.
After deep-frying them until golden brown they need to rest a little on a tray lined with paper towels to absorb all that excess fat. The sides are rolled in a plain or flavored sugar and the cronuts are left to cool before getting filled with the pastry cream of your choice or a lemon curd… A sugar glaze goes on top and you’re ready to make a lot of friends.
Actually you only have about 6 hours to make a lot of friends. That’s your window of optimal deliciousness. After that, you’re on your own.
This is the obligatory cross-section action shot. After they get filled with a pastry cream imagine it oozing out of there. Yes, I said oozing. Just like Nigella.
Did I say how good those things were? There, I said it.
Fill the cronuts with a bismark pastry tip, they are shaped like a standard piping tip but with a long tube attached at the end with a slightly pointy tip. They allow you to puncture the dough and get that pastry cream in the middle of the pastry.
Sorry for the teasing but maybe a recipe will be available soon (some already are) to the many home chefs out there. After everybody comes down a bit..
Dominique Ansel Bakery
189 Spring St New York, NY 10012