About a year ago, Cronuts™ were all the rage and had people lining up around the block to get in to Dominique Ansel’s Bakery in New York City to try his latest flakey fried creation. They were limited to only two cronuts per person at five bucks each! Bunding entrepeurs went so far as to post their services to Craigslist, offering to pick up and deliver cronuts for a mere $20-$40 each. And despite a brief closing, customers are still interested in these doughy treats.
I was one of these crazed individuals losing sleep wondering what this wild croissant/doughnut hybrid could possibly taste like. Both delicious, but so different. The merging of the two could only make me perfectly and incandescently happy. However, being across the country, how I was I possibly going to get my hands on one? Luckily, bakeries all over were capitalizing on this new trend by creating their own artful version of the new treat as well as coming up with clever new names for them due to Ansel’s trademark on Cronut™.
I am fortunate to live in a city that is filled with plenty of these such bakeries! So I set out on finding a cronut of my own, short of making one (which would have been impossible since I only got my Fry Daddy this past June!). After some research, I found the Fillmore Bake Shop, a small bakery on Fillmore at Bush. Not that it means much to you if you don’t live in San Francisco, I’m just so used to proceeding the “Bake Shop” with “Fillmore & Bush” as I have told many people about their cronuts.
How do I begin to describe the cronut? The Filmore Bakeshop expertly gave them a light coating of cinnamon sugar so as not to overpower. They are similar to a doughnut because they are fried but once you bite into it, it is all about the layers baby. And they are so flaky! Don’t even worry about cleaning up your appearance in between bites. Warning: you will be covered in crumbs and cinnamon sugar. I highly recommend not eating one in front of your crush.
After experiencing this fried ambrosia, I had to bring one to my Aunt Cathy, fellow doughut, butter, pastry, all things fried and delicious aficionado (not to mention a glimpse into my future self). And believe you mean, it was worth it for her reactions.
After trying our first cronuts in October, my Aunt Cathy gifted me croissonuts from Williams-Sonoma for my birthday in January. They came in a box to be kept frozen until you needed them. They had to be left out overnight to rise before they could be fried, sugared, and served. P.S. There were 18 croissonuts in this box! Super excessive. No wonder I’m doughy.
Anyhow, there was much discussion in the family about how I was going to fry these, since we didn’t have a deep fryer or sunflower oil or an oil thermometer, only a deep desire for homemade cronuts. My Dad’s main concern was how we would dispose of the oil. Like really concerned. I think he was convinced I would dump it down the sink or flush it down the toilet in the dead of the night. I even researched giving it to a local restaurant as they have a way of disposing of it. All in all, in the voice of Tony Shalhoub’s Monk, here’s what happened.
I filled a small pot with about two inches of vegetable oil. I read that in lieu of a thermometer, I could test the oil for the right temperature by placing a chopstick in the oil and seeing if bubbles formed around it. It was time. The croissonuts required 30-45 seconds per side, so I eagerly counted aloud while they fried away in the oil. And here is where my fault lies. I kept throwing in croissonut after croissonut not knowing enough about deep frying to realize that it is a big no-no. After taking out each croissonut, you are supposed to wait a bit for the temperature to rise again otherwise your fried treat will take on the taste of your oil, and sure enough that is exactly what happened. Vegetable oil and cinnamon sugar flavored croissonuts, but they sure look good!
I made 8 of them for our family Easter Sunday brunch. They were a big hit. I think because they were so exotic and everyone couldn’t entirely figure out if they liked them or not so they kept eating them to decide.
After studying the rules of frying, I decided to give it another go this past September with my Fry Daddy! However, after sitting in a box in my freezer for nine moths, the remaining ten croissonuts were much worse for the wear. They were quite freezer burned but I left them out over night anyway and to my surprise…they kind of rose. More like there were some air bubbles but in to the great Fry Daddy they went! They were much flatter this time, and I spread my Mom’s strawberry jam inside and sprinkled them with powdered sugar. I got the idea from Sonoma’s Basque Boulangerie Café which came out with the Bronut, a hybrid of doughnut, croissant, and their famous beehive cake. They pipe custard and raspberry jam inside.
The strawberry jam really saved these puppies! And alas, this has been my journey in Cronuts, never ending and ever evolving.