What is a Cronut? It is described by many as a half croissant, half doughnut, this pastry hybrid by Chef Dominique Ansel from Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York's Soho neighbourhood, is taking the world by storm. After its launch on May 10, 2013, Cronut fans spanned the world from Berlin to Singapore, making it the most viral dessert item to date. I just read he invented something new again, like a custard ice cream in marshmellow.
He took two months to perfect the Cronuts recipe. Chef Dominique Ansel’s creation is not to be mistaken as simply croissant dough that has been fried. It is made with a laminated dough which has been likened to a croissant, the Cronut is first proofed and then fried in grapeseed oil at a specific temperature which he of course did not reveal. Once cooked, each Cronut is flavoured in three ways. It is rolled in sugar, filled with cream and topped with glaze. Once fried, these things have a short shelf life. As the hours wear on without eating it, the exterior crispness suffers whilst the centres soften. It will still be tasty, but not as tasty as they could have been if consumed close to making. They should not be stored inside the fridge.
People queue up for hours for it and there are scalpers that sell up to $100 a pop. As I won't be going to New york anytime soon, I tried making some myself just for fun and curiosity. Croissant dough is difficult to make and after reading that it is actually laminated dough, I thought of a short cut method. I used puff pastry and add butter to it. I didn't need to proof the dough at all. It still tasted fantastic to me. It was fluffy and crispy at the same time. A different kind of feeling in the mouth from croissant or a donut.
2 sheets of square puff pastry, frozen (I used Pampas, please do not thaw)
80g cold unsalted butter
Grapeseed oil or Canola oil for deep frying
Fine or castor sugar for coating
Cut out 2 medium sized freezer bags (plastic bags, cut out one of the sides and the bottom)
Lay out one piece of puff pastry straight out of the freezer onto one side of the freezer bag.
Cut thin slices of chilled butter (about 40g) and lay them on one half of the puff pastry.
Fold the pastry into half.
Flip the other side of the freezer bag over and cover the pastry.
Roll the pastry thinner lengthwise. (the rolling pin will not be dirty as it is rolling on the freezer bag and you don't need to use extra flour on the pastry.
Fold the pastry into thirds.
Roll again into a bigger rectangle.
Now fold again into a smaller square.
Now it is about 2 cm thick.
Put the pastry in the fridge to firm it out.
Repeat with the another sheet using the other 40g of butter.
CREME PATISSERIE (Pastry Cream)
Adapted from All Recipes
1 vanilla bean or 2 tsp of vanilla extract
5 egg yolks
4 tbsp plain flour
60g unsalted butter
1 pinch salt
Place the milk, half the sugar and the vanilla bean in a saucepan over medium heat. (If using vanilla extract, add it only later)
Combine the egg yolks and the remaining sugar in a bowl and whisk until light in colour. Add in the flour and the salt, mix to combine.
When the milk just begins to boil, remove from heat and remove vanilla bean.
Very slowly dribble the hot milk into the yolk mixture, stirring all the time.
When about half of the milk has been added, place all of the yolk mixture into the saucepan over medium heat.
Using a spatula or a whisk, mix the pastry cream as it heats, making sure to reach all of the corners of the pan when you stir.
Bring the mixture to the boil. Let boil for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. The mixture will be thick.
Remove from heat and add the butter. (If you are using vanilla extract, add in now)
Strain if you wish for a smoother cream.
Place into a bowl and cover directly with cling film to stop a skin from forming on the cream.
Chill and use within a few days.
Adapted from All Recipes
120g icing sugar
2 tsp milk
1 tsp melted butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
Melt the butter and add to rest of ingredients. Mix until creamy and thick.
COOKNG & ASSEMBLY
Take out the pastry from the fridge.
Use a donut cutter to stamp out donut rounds, it will yield about 4 rounds to 5 rounds, plus the middle portion which you take it out and the sides after you have lifted the rounds. (I did not leave any wasted)
Repeat for the second piece of pastry.
Heat up the oil in a pan and fry the pastry till golden brown.
Drain the fried pastry.
Let it cool for a while and dip the pastry into the sugar to coat it all round.
Put the creme patisserie into a piping bag with a nozzle and push the tip of the nozzle to pipe the cream into the pastries from the sides.
Spoon the glaze onto the top of the pastries.
Enjoy while it is still warm and crispy.
PS: My experimental cronuts are not high and the layers are not as profound as the one you see from Dominique Ansel Bakery of course. I reckon if you want it much higher with many layers, do stack two sheets of puff pastry together and it will definitely need more butter needless to say. That means even higher calories! I leave it up to you. Mine is good enough for me.