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 on May 10. 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.
On June 3, 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 tweaking 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.
Twin Cities residents already have some options for comparison-tasting, with more in the wings.
Angel Food Bakery and Coffee Bar in Minneapolis began selling their take on the craze a few weeks ago. Further experimentation led to a twisted knot that looks nothing like the original Cronut “because we decided to take the idea even one step further toward traditional French pastries,” said baker/owner Cynthia Gerdes. Cro-knots? They’re running a naming contest on their Facebook page, AngelFoodMN.
Gregory’s Foods in Eagan, which manufactures doughs, mixes and batters for local bakeries, quickly developed their take. They call it a (yawn) “croissant-cut donut,” knowing that individual bakeries will come up with their own names.
Mike Reineck, director of sales, said that interest is strong. “You hardly ever see a whole new category emerge,” he said, predicting that within the next few weeks, 250 bakeries in the metro area will be proofing and frying Gregory’s base dough, likely putting their own spin on it. “No one I’ve spoken to says, ‘Nah, we’re going to pass on this fad.’ ”
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.”