July 9, 2013

Crazy for Cronuts? Here’s how to make your own

It’s not hard to make your own version of the golden-fried croissant confection but there are several steps.

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Once upon a month or two 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.

Kathie Lee and Hoda went crazy for Cronuts on Today. Lines at creator Dominique Ansel’s bakery were out the door, and although customers were limited to two confections per person, Cronuts reportedly were scalped on Craigslist for upward of $40.

The bakery also trademarked the name, betting that Cronut Fever would lead to all sorts of spinoffs passing through sugar-glazed lips.

And it has.

The first to sell a version in Tarrant County will be Main Street Bistro & Bakery (soon to be renamed Bistro M), with locations in Grapevine, Plano, Richardson and a new one opening in Coppell on Wednesday.

Owner Yasmine Bohsali, who is from France, says theirs will be “Cro-dough-nuts” — scratch-made croissant dough shaped and fried like a doughnut (with a hole in the middle), then filled with creme brulee and glazed with caramel.

“When I tried it, I was like wow, that’s to die for,” Bohsali said. The bakery’s French pastry chef, Pierre Thilliez, started creating his version after a customer who’d tasted Cronuts in New York came back and raved about them.

The decadent pastries will be offered in time for breakfast but make a great dessert, too, she said. They’ll go on sale at the Coppell location first — probably this week — and are expected to be available in Grapevine by next Wednesday. As of press time, she hadn’t decided what they’d charge.

Want to try your hand at a Cronut creation? We are calling this homemade take on the 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. 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.)

Call them the Dessert of Summer.

Edd Kimber, who blogs from London (, 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 debuted the Cronut.

Then 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 good!”

He’s the first to say that he doesn’t use “proper croissant dough.” Instead, he tweaks 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.

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.”

Star-Telegram staff writer Stephanie Allmon did additional reporting for this story.

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