July 10, 2013

Just don't call 'em Cronuts

Enterprising cooks are coming up with their own takes -- including this one -- on the hot pastry fad.

By KIM ODE McClatchy Newspapers

Whatever you call it, the world is agog at the Cronut, a deep-fried croissant-like doughnut. The originals are made in New York, but here's an option for your own kitchen.

Step-by-step in making "cronuts"
click image to enlarge

Homemade Cronut-like pastries are a mashup of croissants and doughnuts, fried and filled with pastry cream.

McClatchy Newspapers

Once upon a month ago, a New York City bakery unleashed upon the world a New Thing. They called it a Cronut -- a deep-fried doughnut made with croissant dough, plumped with pastry cream, then glazed. The bakery also trademarked the name, betting that Cronut Fever would lead to all sorts of knockoffs passing through sugar-glazed lips.

Thus, we are calling our take on this delicacy the Crodo. Or maybe the Fauxnut. Or ... really, what's in a name? Just don't call them "gone."

You'll never have to, once you know how to make a version at home. And you can, thanks to a blogger in Britain, if you're up to the challenge. They're not difficult, but they are putzy. And you'll be the coolest kid at the office/brunch/picnic/party when you prance in with a platter of ... whatever you want to call them. (Whoop Loops? -- because people may whoop.)

Edd Kimber, who blogs from London (theboywhobakes.co.uk), is no slouch around sugar. He won the BBC Two series "The Great British Bake Off" in 2010, and has a new cookbook, "Say It With Cake," coming out in August. He wrote that he was intrigued when the Dominique Ansel Bakery (dominiqueansel.com) debuted the Cronut in May. Lines formed. Within days, scalpers were holding the pastries hostage for $20. $30? $40!

That's partly because the bakery makes only 300 each day. Supply, meet demand.

In June, Kimber posted his version. "Since I won't be in New York anytime soon," he wrote, "I thought I would see if I could replicate them at home, and you know what? They are pretty damn good!"

He's the first to say that he doesn't use "proper croissant dough." Instead, he tweaks recipes for quick puff pastry into a croissant dough that needs only 20 minutes of actual labor, and an overnight rest in the refrigerator. The results aren't quite as tender or lofty as what comes from a truly laminated dough -- or what emerges from Monsieur Ansel's bakery -- but for what the New York Times called a Frankenpastry, it's good enough.

After converting Kimber's recipe from metric, we tweaked a few things, making them a bit smaller (thus reducing the degree of indulgence), the pastry cream a bit creamier, and shifting the frosting to a glaze. We considered a garnish of ground-up Lipitor tablets, but decided that would send the wrong message.

Be forewarned: The shelf life of these treats is comparable to a hummingbird's wingbeat. This pastry wants to be consumed as soon as possible after frying, absolutely on the same day, which gives the home baker the freshness advantage. Some knockoffs omit the pastry cream, which helps them last a bit longer, and also forestalls the need to chill them should they not be served within a few hours.

None of the recipe's steps is difficult, but there are several. The good news is that the dough and pastry cream need to be made the day before you plan to serve, which spreads out the work.

In the morning, roll out the dough, cut the doughnut shapes, let them rest until they begin to puff a bit, then fry them. Roll them while warm in a lemony sugar, then inject the pastry cream in four quick jabs. Drizzle with a lemon glaze, and serve them with a flourish.

When people ask, "What are these things?", there's only one response: "You tell me."

(Continued on page 2)

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