I got interested in the delight that is the Cronut from watching Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch where Great British Bake Off champion Edd Kimber’s presented his own take on The Cronut, a “baked good heard round the media sphere,”. The Cronuts are currently taking New York City by storm – t that – flaky, buttery dough that’s deep-fried to golden brown perfection, and then filled with cream and glazed. Since its debut in the spring of 2013, the Cronut has launched into an international phenomenon, and with a dedicated following. With its burgeoning popularity, the donut-meets-croissant is in high demand – and has even found its way onto the black market.
The mastermind behind the Cronut craze is pastry chef and owner of Manhattan’s Dominique Ansel Bakery, Dominique Ansel, who invented the circular treat to blend his French upbringing with an American classic. Word on the street is that Ansel’s secrets include using croissant-like dough, which he then fries in grape seed oil. The result is a light and flaky Cronut that is finished in three ways: rolled in sugar, filled with cream, and topped with glaze.
For the quick croissant dough
- 60ml milk, body temperature
- 65ml water, body temperature
- 6g dry active yeast
- 125g strong bread flour
- 125g plain flour
- 30g caster sugar
- ½ tsp salt
- 150g unsalted butter, diced and chilled
For the lemon sugar
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 100g caster sugar
For the filling
- 300ml whole milk
- 1 vanilla bean
- 4 large egg yolks
- 2 tbsp plain flour
- 50g caster sugar
For the glaze
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Icing sugar (or you can spice it up as some of the following pictures bellow show with walnuts or pink popping candy)
- Place the milk, water and yeast in a medium bowl, mix to combine then set aside.
- Place the flours, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter pieces and pulse until the butter is in small pieces. This is the important stage, you are not making a bread or a pastry so don’t over-process the mixture – you need to see chunks of butter, around 1cm in size.
- Tip the mixture from the processor onto the liquid ingredients and using a spatula or bread scraper gently fold the dry goods into the liquid, trying to moisten everything without making the butter any smaller.
- Once the liquid is roughly combined, tip the mixture out onto the work surface and lightly knead together to form a ball of dough. Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with clingfilm and pop in the fridge for a few hours.
- After allowing the dough to rest for a few hours place it on a well-floured work surface and roll out into a rectangle roughly 20cm x 40cm.
- Fold the dough in thirds, like a business letter brushing off any excess flour; this is the first turn. Turn the dough through 90° so that the folds are facing you then repeat the rolling and folding process two more times, giving the dough a total of three turns. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and refrigerate overnight before using.
- Before frying make the lemon sugar, filling and the glaze. For the lemon sugar rub the zest and the sugar together for a few minutes, cover and set aside.
- For the filling place the milk in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. Using a sharp knife scrape out the vanilla beans from the pod and place in the pan with the pod itself.
- Add the egg yolks, flour and sugar into a bowl and whisk together until smooth.
- When the milk comes to the boil remove the vanilla pod and then pour the milk over the eggs, whisking to combine. Pour the custard back into the pan and cook until thickened, whisking constantly. Pour the custard back into the bowl, cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until needed.
- For the glaze, gradually add icing sugar to the lemon juice until you have a thick pipeable mixture – you are looking for a thickness similar to toothpaste. Press clingfilm onto the surface of the glaze to prevent it crusting over and set aside until needed.
- Roll out the dough to about 1cm thick, much thicker than you would roll the dough if making a croissant. Using a 9cm/3½ inch cookie cutter, cut out 10 doughnuts, then using a 2.5cm/1 inch cutter cut out the hole.
- Allow the doughnuts to prove at room temperature until puffed up.
- When ready to fry fill a heavy-bottomed saucepan two thirds full with vegetable oil, place over medium heat and bring to 170°C.
- When at temperature fry the doughnuts two at a time, for a couple minutes each side, or until deep golden brown. Using a metal slotted spoon remove from the pan and place onto a wire rack covered with kitchen paper. Repeat with the remaining doughnuts, two at a time.
- Once cooled enough to handle roll the outside of the doughnuts in the lemon sugar, then set aside to cool completely.
- Place the vanilla custard in a piping bag fitted with abismarck tip (opens in a new window). Press the tip into each quarter of the fauxnuts and pipe in a small amount of the custard.
- For the decoration, place the glaze in another piping bag and snip off the end, then pipe a ring around the top.
As you may have guessed, I have tried replicating it, too. From what I had researched I decided to fry mine in grape seed oil and finished it by giving it a dusting of sugar, filling it with cream, and topping with glaze. While Ansel’s version takes a lengthy three days to complete, skilfully I have been able to compress it down to one – if you start early! So while Cronut-craving tourists and New Yorkers are lining up, hundreds-deep, to get their hands on one, you’ll have no problem scoring the elusive pastry with our recipe at home – that we think just might rival the original.