Cronuts: A Match, Definitely Made in Heaven!
Layers and layers of buttery pastry goodness similar to that of a croissant, shaped and filled like a doughnut and topped with glaze. Adopting the latter’s surname, it’s a perfect marriage between the two: cro-nut. My curiosity for cronuts began back in 2013, when Max and Caroline started losing their business to this new cronut craze in town, in the third season of two broke girls. Soon after, detective Beckett, in the sixth season of Castle, ended up solving a murder mystery with the help of these very same cronuts, from Dominique Ansel! They look good, they sound good and well, apparently, they have super powers too!
Half a year later, I found myself standing at the door of Dominique Ansel bakery, in New York’s SoHo, the place which is home to these famous cronuts. Absolutely zero confusion in locating the bakery, the aroma of butter, sugar and vanilla, from a mile worth of radius, draws a person right at their doorstep. Pastry chef and owner to this bakery, the man himself: Dominique Ansel, is famous for his cookie shots, frozen s’mores, kouign amann but most of all for his genius invention of the cronut. The idea was to take the most famous American breakfast staple, doughnut, to a whole new level by incorporating the light, flaky, buttery, melt in the mouth textures inspired from his favourite childhood pastry - croissant. It took him a couple of months of trial and error and ten different recipes to come up with a flawless product, which swept the entire nation off their feet.
Imagine. Paper thin pastry layers layered with equally thin butter layers. And then some more of these alternating layers; and some more; until there are hundreds and hundreds of these ruffles stacked on top of each other. Shaped like a doughnut. Proofed till these babies have doubled in size. Fried in grapeseed oil until an even bronze tan covers the surface. Filled with raspberry-lychee or lemon maple or sweet citrus-y ricotta or peanut butter caramel or fig mascarpone (the list for filling flavours is endless – literally!) and topped with a thin layer of glaze.
Making a batch of cronuts, is a three day process and the daily output of the bakery is 350 cronuts! By the time I got there, sadly they were sold out for the day. Dominique Ansel opens its door to an eagerly waiting line of people at 8 am everyday. Two cronuts limited per person and they are sold out within a couple of hours - All 350 cronuts gone within 2-3 hours! The following day I was out in the queue at 6 am sharp and still didn’t get my turn. This went on for a couple of days until I gave up and tried to place an order for cronuts and was given a collection date two months away!! I ended up trying his other products though, the macarons and the crunchy caramalised sugar dipped croissants called kouign amann, but with a heavy heart, I ended up returning to my home country without every getting around those cronuts.
Another half a year later, in Bangkok, this adorable little dessert place, Vanilla Garden, put up cronuts on their menu. Although it was being served as a plated dessert instead of a grab and go option back in New York, my cronut-deprived soul convinced me to give it a try. And I was not one bit disappointed: a fat little cronut filled with pastry cream, scoop of vanilla bean icecream, coated in warm salted caramel, toasted hazlenuts and marshmallows, I finished the entire thing on my own!
I am still waiting for the day I’ll get my hands on the original trademarked, proprietary recipe-made cronuts from Dominique Ansel, but until then, this will keep my soul warm and my belly purring with content.