Food Files: Cronuts At Dominique Ansel Bakery
“Absolutely eat dessert first. The thing that you want to do the most, do that.” Joss Whedon
What is the Cronut™ pastry? The Cronut™ pastry is the unique creation by Chef Dominique Ansel that many have described to be a croissant-doughnut hybrid. After its launch on May 10, 2013, Cronut™ pastry fans spanned the world from Berlin to Singapore, making it the most virally talked about dessert item in history. Dominique Ansel Bakery
Yes, yes, yes! I finally gave in to the hype and headed down to Spring Street yesterday morning, at 6:30am, with my daughters in tow. We joined the throngs of people gathered for this early morning pilgrimage to Dominique Ansel Bakery. Our mission? To get there early enough to guarantee our purchase of a special, chewy, sugary, croissant-doughnut hybrid named – Cronut. Like other foodies, many of whom were tourists from other parts of the world, we were curious to try the flavor of the month. For December, it was the Valrhona Dark Chocolate Raspberry (with a splash of Chambord) Cronut.
When Dominique launched his unique dessert, the aforementioned Cronut™, on May 10, 2013, he started a feeding frenzy that reminded many of us of the Krispy Kreme mania a few years before. Unlike Krispy Kreme though, Dominique has done what the French luxury market has mastered well: controlling supply to ensure continued demand, packaging the product in beautiful yellow and bronze boxes and elegant orange bags, and offering his product at a higher price point than the norm. At $5 a Cronut, you are only allowed to buy 2 maximum per person. The lines are always long and the wait is worth it, especially, if you have good company and like creating events that feed into your memory bank of special experiences… Read on!
“I love dessert. I can’t be guilty about it because I have to taste everything. I experiment.” Martha Stewart
The Makings of the Cronut™ Pastry…
Taking 2 months and more than 10 recipes, Chef Dominique Ansel’s creation is not to be mistaken as simply croissant dough that has been fried. Made with a laminated dough which has been likened to a croissant (but uses a proprietary recipe), the Cronut™ pastry is first proofed and then fried in grapeseed oil at a specific temperature. Once cooked, each Cronut™ pastry is flavored in three ways: 1. rolled in sugar; 2. filled with cream; and 3. topped with glaze. The Cronut™ pastries are made fresh daily, and completely done in-house. The entire process takes up to 3 days.Dominique Ansel Bakery
My daughters suggested the idea the night before and I was game. We woke up pretty early, around 6:00am, and were out the door by 6:30. I drove into the city at a time most of us know the City that Never Sleeps is actually sleeping, and the only people awake are cops, night-clubbers, early morning delivery guys … and foodies. It’s a great time to be in the city, as an unusual quiet hangs over everything. You get to see a side of the city that most don’t see when the hustle and bustle kicks in; the blaring sirens are silent, the loud buses and thundering noise of speeding trains on the underground subway, and the constant buzz of people and yellow cabs are absent. Good weather was on our side. The temperature outside was in the 40’s and sunrise cast a warm light on everything.
We joined a line that had already formed; it was easily about 75 people who must have spent the night in front of the bakery (joking). A security guard was directing new arrivals to the back of the line and informing people on how things worked. My daughters and I picked up on a few accents and languages; Japanese, Italian, German, Chinese, even French. It was an international group and everyone had a smile on their faces as they chatted with their companions about what-nots. I was glad my daughters had suggested doing this because I’d thought about it for months, but dreaded heading out to Spring Street alone in the cold.
As we waited on line, the kind chefs inside the bakery brought us delicious treats; each of us got small servings of hot chocolate and the most delectable mini Madeleine. I took a ton of photos to make sure I’d captured the spirit of the moment. I actually enjoyed hanging out so early in the morning with a group of cheerful people on a food mission. Before we knew it, 8:00am had rolled around and they started letting people in, in groups of 15 or so. As people left, more people were let it. We soon found ourselves in front of the wait line and the excitement was building up. What can I say, I love desserts and would definitely be the type to eat mine first. I was ready.
“Work is the meat of life, pleasure the dessert.” B. C. Forbes
There is only one flavor of the Cronut™ pastry every month. Here are the flavors we’ve had: May – Rose Vanilla; June – Lemon Maple; July – Blackberry Lime; August – Coconut; September – Fig Mascarpone; October- Apple Creme Fraiche; November – Salted Dulce de Leche; December -Valrhona Chocolate Champagne; January – Peanut Butter Rum Caramel; February – Raspberry Lychee; March – Milk & Honey (with hint of lavender); April – Passion Fruit Caramelia; May – Blueberry Lemon Verbena; June – Strawberry Balsamic and Mascarpone; July – Morello Cherry with Toasted Almond Cream; August – Yellow Peach Black Tea; September – Bosc pear & Sage; October – Pumpkin Chai; November – Caribbean Rum Raisin. For December, it is Valrhona Dark Chocolate Raspberry (with a splash of Chambord).Dominique Ansel Bakery
Once we got inside, my savvy daughters changed the plan on me. “Let’s not get 6 Cronuts mom, we can manage with 3-4 and try a few other things.” Smart idea! We did. We got 4 Cronuts, 2 DKA Caramelized Croissants, 1 chocolate pine-cone cake and 1 Cannele de Bordeaux. I was stoked. We also decided to eat breakfast. My daughters had yoghurt with granola and cups of tea. I had the egg sandwich on a brioche with Gruyère cheese, and a cup of cappuccino. Yummy!
We enjoyed our breakfast and debated if we should eat a Cronut at the bakery before heading to the movies to see SELMA (Oprah Winfrey’s new poignant and powerful film about Dr Martin Luther King, Jr). We finally gave in and shared one of our 4 Cronuts. It was a chewy, sugary, scrumptious treat, with a dark chocolate and, quite tart, raspberry filling. The raspberry filling was a bit much, but the rest was divine. Verdict? Scrumptious! Yes, it was worth the effort and I’d love to taste test the other flavors, please.
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Positive Motivation Tip: Enjoy your foods with friends and family, and those in need. Give gratitude for your abundance.
PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: All photos from my Personal Collection