Monday, 24 June 2013

The one where I attempt to make Cronuts at home

The Cronut is the offspring of an unholy union between a croissant and a doughnut. The brainchild of Dominique Ansel has taken the US (or at least New York) by storm. Apparently you have to wait in line for one (or maximum two) - I heard rumours of people camping outside the shop at 4am. You can also place on order - 2 weeks in advance. I have to say I was thoroughly intrigued by a pastry that inspires such devotion

The last time I was in New York was nearly 14 years ago. There's very little chance of me going there any time soon. So, naturally, I set out to make (my own version of) cronuts at home. Lets call them... doughssants!

Presenting the doughssant!
I had no recipe - Monsieur Ansel is understandably rather protective of his creation (it is trademarked) and although some other brave souls have also attempted to recreate this Frankenpastry at home I decided to go my own way. This, by the way, is the equivalent of a 1st year medical student deciding to do solo surgery (with less dire consequences). After all, I have never made croissants or doughnuts before. Heck, I never even deep fried anything before (on rare occasions we have something fried my husband usually cooks). But did I let that deter me? Nooooo!

I knew from description that the Cronut needed a flaky pastry dough which would then be fried. This poses a problem as the butter which gives laminated dough the layering would normally melt during the frying process. But I decided to go ahead and try my luck with Danish pastry dough - another recipe I had never tried before.

I made these twice to work out the kinks in my recipe. And the big question ... did it work? Yes. I managed to make something that looks very similar to  the Cronut. I have no way of knowing however whether the taste is even close to that of the much coveted original. If anyone wants to send a dozen to London for a taste comparison I would really appreciate it!

Did they taste good? Yes - especially when still warm and rolled in sugar. They were crisp on the outside, softer on the inside and oozy with filling. Despite the frying they did not taste oily at all. 


Would I make them again? Probably not. Apart from the fact that they are a LOT of work, I would not really want to make a habit of eating deep fried butter (which these essentially are). They also go stale very quickly which is probably why the Ansel bakery only sells a limited amount every day. Having said that, a stale doughssant tasted very nice dipped in my morning coffee...

I tried these filled in coffee pastry cream with salted caramel drizzled on top. Although this sounds delicious, I found the pastry cream too heavy. I think whipped cream or lightened pastry cream work best. You can play with the flavours to use whatever combination you prefer.

Filled with whipped cream and drizzled with lemon glaze.


Filled with coffee pastry cream and drizzled with salted caramel.

For the dough 
Makes 6 - make the day before150ml warm milk / 2/3 cup
2 tsp instant dried yeast
60g caster sugar/ 4 tbsp
2 large eggs at room temp
450-475g bread flour / about 3 1/2 cups plus extra for dusting
1/2 tsp salt
250g chilled unsalted butter/ 1 cup or 18 tbsp
1 liter /quart sunflower or vegetable oil for frying
Caster sugar (to roll them in)


For the filling
300ml double cream* ( 1 1/4 cups)
3-8 tbsp icing sugar (or to taste)
seeds from 1 vanilla pod (or use whatever flavouring you like)
* you can use pastry cream but I found this combination too heavy

For the glaze
8 tbsp icing sugar (more if needed)
Juice of half lemon
Freeze-dried raspberry pieces (optional)

Method
  1. It is best if you make the dough one day ahead as it needs to chill for a minimum of 4 hours - ideally overnight. Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl. Lightly whisk the milk and eggs together and add to the flour. Mix together and knead either by hand or in a stand mixer using the dough hook for about 10 minutes. Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover and chill in fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Place your chilled butter between two pieces of baking paper and pound it flat into a rectangle measuring aprox. 10 x 7.5cm/4 x 3in. If it becomes too soft then chill in fridge (or freezer) for 10-15m.
  3. Lightly dust both your surface and dough with flour and then roll your it out to a rectangle that measures 12.5 x 25cm/5 x 10in.
  4. Place the butter in the middle of your dough and fold the dough over it. Lightly press the edges with the rolling pin to close them. Roll out the dough carefully into a rectangle that is three times as long as it is wide. Fold one third into the middle and then the other third on top. Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 minutes. 
  5. Repeat the rolling out and folding process two more times chilling the dough for 30 mins between rolling. Leave the covered dough in the fridge overnight. Do not wrap too tightly as it will puff up slightly.
  6. The following day take your dough out of the fridge and roll it out until 1cm/1/2 inch thick. Stamp our six large rounds using a 9cm/ 3 1/2 inch floured cutter. Cut a hole in the middle using a small cutter (or bottom of piping tip). Place the the rounds on a tray lined with baking paper and leave them to rise for 30 mins.
  7. Put your oil in a pot and heat until it reaches 170C/350F. You need to make sure the oil temperature is constant before frying - clip a thermometer on and keep an eye on it the whole time.
  8. When the oil is ready, fry two pastries at a time for a couple of minutes on each side. Flip / take out using chopsticks. The doughssants (name isn't going to catch on, is it?)  will puff up and turn a deep golden brown colour. Drain them on paper towels.
  9. Roll the sides in caster sugar while still warm. To fill, whip the double cream, vanilla seeds and icing sugar together till you get soft peaks. Poke 4 holes on the bottom of each pastry using a chopstick. Fill with the cream (once they are cool) using a fine tip fitted into a piping bag. Be careful as the cream may come through the layers!
  10. To prepare the glaze simply mix icing sugar and lemon juice together until you have pipping consistency then drizzle over the cooled pastries. You can make any flavour of glaze you like, but I found I needed the sharp taste of lemon to cut through the sweetness. Decorate with freeze dried raspberries as shown or whatever takes your fancy. Enjoy them while they are still fresh!

Admire my layers please...

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    33 comments:

    1. These look superb! I'd never even heard of a cronut until you mentioned it, and I have to say I'd likely be queueing too! If you see me standing outside your house you'll know why. ;)

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    2. Oh my! They look insanely good. And I am definitely admiring your layers. In fact, I have layer envy. Whenever I have made a laminated dough it has NEVER looked that good. I bow down to you for the amount of effort this must have taken. Superb!

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    3. These look great. Really really lovely and I agree with the above, the layering is awesome! As you say though, deep fried butter probably isn't great for regular consumption...

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    4. Wow you have really put a lot of time and effort into these and it has all paid off, they look great!

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    5. Those layers are amazing, I'm impressed with your dedication and it really paid off. These look absolutely stunning and I'd love to try one even if they're not overly good for the waistline!

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    6. Thanks for the lovely comments everyone. I really enjoyed making the danish pastry - there's something very soothing in all that rolling and folding! Having said that my first version of the dough was done in extreme hurry and was very sloppy. But it was still lovely and layer-y when baked. Must actually bake some Danish pastries soon!

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    7. oops meant to leave a comment but think I sent you my comment as a message! sorry. Anyway lovely idea and they look SUPER scrummy but perhaps deep fried croissant is a step too far!

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      1. Well not really my idea (lets credit M. Ansel again) - just wanted to challenge myself as to whether I COULD make them. Seeing as they go stale very quickly it would be completely impractical to make at home even if they were healthier.

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    8. YES YES YES! I am now a fully paid up Cronut lover member! Lovely photos Lucy and an intriguing recipe too. Karen

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    9. I thought I was the only crazy one that wanted to try it at home, but apparently I'm not alone! I made Creme Brulee Cronuts and they were delish, and I can't wait to try your version as well! I came across your recipe on Pinterest and I just love your recipes :) Here's a link to my version of the delicious Cronut...
      http://www.piecelovecooking.com/2013/06/creme-brulee-cronut-made-with-quick.html

      XOXO,
      Juliana
      www.piecelovecooking.com

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    10. Oh wow! I tried these when I was in the US and always wondered how to make them! Fab!

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    11. I think I would like to try and make these when I am more experienced.

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    12. Wow!, kudos to you for trying these out. It looks like it was a success too, congrats! x

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    13. It's like my two favourites in one.. amazing! So so yumm,y I worry they'd be so difficult to make though!

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    14. Oooo, they look so naughty!

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    15. I have never heard of these before. They look great.

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    16. Never heard of them but they look fab!

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    17. Ooooh would love to try one :) xxx

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    18. Amazing! Differs to the recipe i use but will give yours a go

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    19. i tried making these not via this recipe though mine was a disaster but wont stop me trying again

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    20. Saw these on an US comedy program, never heard of them or seen a recipe... thank you!

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    21. I'd never heard of these before - they sound delicious!

      Hazel Rea - @beachrambler

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    22. Oh my days, these look scrummy! Not sure I'd have the patience to make them though but I've been looking for an excuse to visit NYC again :)

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    23. How have I never heard of Cronuts before?? These are right up my street.

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    24. Looks yummy.I will make them one day :)

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    25. Sounds and looks delicious, I'll definitely have to try this one! Thanks for the receipe

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    26. This looks amazing. I've never heard of a cronut before, but I do love the idea behind it.

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    27. these look delicious! but never would I dare to try and make them ;) well done to you!

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    28. These look fantastic, but I'd rather have a doughnut or a croissant than the two combined

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