Monday, July 15, 2013

Today's Newest Dessert Craze: Cronuts!

You love being on the cusp of all the latest-of-the-latests. In social food!

Which takes me to the topic of this post and my question to you:

What new dessert could possibly be so tasty, so special, so wonderfully exquisite so as to become an overnight sensation and sell out within an hour...every single day?

The answer is the cronut. And the place of origin is Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City.

Photo credit: Taylor Jewell

Chef Dominque Ansel, who placed as a finalist for the prestigious James Beard Outstanding Pastry Chef Award this year, created this delectable French twist on an American classic: half-croissant, half-donut.

It's made of layers of buttery croissant dough that are first deep fried, then filled with a flavored center. These heavenly creations are eventually rolled in flavored sugar and finished with a glaze. Inside, they're flaky and light. Outside, they're crispy and warm.

Who could resist one? (Not me, I can assure you!)

Photo credit: Dominique Ansel

In fact, they're so popular that the name has been trademarked and they're being sold (via black market, believe it or not!) on Craigslist. They are also being copied by bakeries around the world under various names such as doissants.

However, it was Ansel who created this original masterpiece. "We tried about 10 different recipes and the first ones were a total disaster," he says. After much trial-and-error, he came up with the winning recipe -- and the rest, as they say, is history.

Chef Dominique Ansel

Ansel plans to release a new flavor every month. (Some examples: Rose Vanilla, Lemon Maple, and Blackberry. Look for many more to come!)

If you're not lucky enough to be able to visit his bakery well before its 8am opening time in the SoHo neighborhood of New York (and I'm talking hours before, standing in a blocks-long line), you can be sure this tasty hybrid of a dessert will be popping up at a bakery near you sometime in the future.

Dominique Ansel Bakery at 189 Spring St., NY, NY

A typical wait in line

To meet the mastermind behind this phenomenon, just click below for an interview with Chef Ansel:

And if you'd like to give this baby a try at home yourself, Pillsbury has created a recipe that's quick and easy, and pretty tasty, too. (Consider it a knock-off. Close enough if you can't make it to New York City anytime soon.) Check it out below and be sure to let me know what you think!

Photo credit: Pillsbury

Makes 3 servings
Adapted from Pillsbury

2 cups vegetable oil
1 can (8 oz) Pillsbury® refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 snack-size container (4 oz) vanilla pudding
2 tablespoons caramel sauce
1/4 teaspoon kosher (coarse) salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar
Additional caramel sauce, if desired

    1. In deep fryer or 2-quart heavy saucepan, heat oil over medium heat to 350°F.
    2. Separate crescent dough into 4 rectangles. Firmly press perforations to seal. Stack 2 rectangles on top of one another. Fold in half widthwise to make tall stack. Repeat with remaining 2 rectangles.
    3. To make 2 doughnuts, use 3-inch biscuit cutter to cut 1 round from each stack; use 1/2-inch biscuit cutter to cut small hole in center of each round. Reroll remaining dough to cut third doughnut.
    4. Fry doughnuts in hot oil 1 1/2 minutes on each side or until deep golden brown and cooked through. Drain on paper towels. Cool 5 minutes.
    5. Carefully split doughnuts in half. Place pudding in decorating bag fitted with tip, and pipe some of the pudding onto bottom half of each doughnut. Top each with some of the caramel sauce; sprinkle with salt. Cover each with top of doughnut.
    6. In small bowl, mix powdered sugar and enough milk for spreading consistency. Spread on tops of doughnuts. Drizzle with additional caramel sauce.

Expert Tips:
Add food color to the powdered sugar glaze for a fun and colorful doughnut topper.
Cut doughnut holes out of dough scraps with 1/2-inch biscuit cutter.

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