Is The Cronut worth waiting 2 hours at 7 AM in the rain for? I want to start off with two statements:
- Dominique Ansel is a genius
- He is the one and only creator of The Cronut; any other place that claims that they make “Cronuts” is just wrong
I went to visit a friend in Manhattan, NY for the weekend with the explicit intention of finally trying out the Cronut that many have raved about for awhile. Achieving The Cronut has strict rules; there is a limited supply every day. Please find below some information lifted from their website (http://dominiqueansel.com/cronut-101/).
How to Order the Cronut® Pastry?
Each Cronut® pastry retails for $5.00 (pre-tax), and there are three ways to score yourself one:
- Visit the Bakery – The lines start outside as early as 1 hour prior to opening (we open at 8am from Mon-Sat and 9am on Sun). As a rule of thumb, if you arrive prior to 7:30am on a week day, you have a great chance of getting the Cronut® pastry. (Weekends tend to be busier.) Please note there is a 2 Cronut® pastry per person limit for in-store purchases
- Get on the Pre-order List – Every Monday at 11am, we offer preorders ONLINE at www.cronutpreorder.com. Please keep in mind we are taking pre-orders for up to two weeks in advance. The limit per person for pre-orders is 6 Cronut® pastries. We can only take one pre-order per person. All pre-orders are non-refundable, non-exchangeable, and the date of pick up cannot be rescheduled
- Place a Large Order (Over 50) – Please email the shop at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would need a minimum of one (1) month’s advance notice. we can only take one large order a month from each individual
Wow! The high demand for The Cronut in NYC has allowed them to get away with such strict, exclusive ordering rules. I can only imagine how other bakeries feel about themselves during The Cronut hype. I can also only imagine how long this hype can sustain itself for. Heeding the warning from the website, my friend and I started to get in line at 7.30AM on Saturday. There was some slight rain, but not enough to deter a line that wrapped around the block from the bakery.
Finally. After what seemed like an eternity in line, I was finally able to order my Cronuts, a cup of coffee, and another pastry I sneaked in. The actual bakery is rather spacious with seating as they have an open patio in the back for diners to enjoy their fresh pastry. Unfortunately it was raining so we had to wait a few minutes for a small table against the wall in the hallway to open up.
The non-cronut pastry I snuck in was this Sake Plum Pavlova with Elder flower Cream and a Saint Germain Gelee. It looked beautiful and St. Germain is one of my favorite liqueur. A pavlova is a Russian meringue dessert that’s light and fluffy. With something so light and fluffy, its an appropriate sponge for both subtle and bold rich flavors. This pastry is clearly Asian influenced. Sweet Plum dipped in sake is cut up and put on top delivering rich, sweet, fruity flavors and succulent texture to an otherwise fluffy meringue cake. In addition, Saint Germaine is an elder flower liqueur, which tastes like lychee. So lychee-flavored cream and gelee is also sprinkled on top to give another style of rich, sweet, fruity flavors and a soft texture. While the description may make it seem like a fruit syrup-covered fluff cake, the pastry wasn’t overtly sweet. It had just the right amount of balance to it that I was able to taste the subtle sake flavors and enjoy the meringue.
Last but certainly not the least (since this is why I came to the bakery for), The Cronut!
The Cronut can be described as a croissant-doughnut hybrid and combines the best of both types of pastry. It is hearty without being heavy. It’s light without being flaky. One can feel and hear the crispy crunch of the layers breaking with each bite. The flavor is spot-on and balanced without being too sweet. The Pumpkin Chai cream inside was simply delicious that spices up my sense. Neither the cream or the dough overpowered each other in flavor, but it all came together harmoniously. The glaze on top was a little bit more rich in flavor, but if eaten correctly, the little bit of rich contrast from the glaze to each bite of cronut that, again, comes together harmoniously.
The construction of the Cronut is simple, but execution must be rather difficult. Here are the summary steps:
- Create a laminated dough likened to a croissant
- Fry the dough in grapeseed oil like a donut
- Once cooked, flavor The Cronut by rolling it in sugar, filling it with cream, and topping with glaze
On October, 2014 Dominque Ansel released his recipes (including the recipe for The Cronut) in his book, The Secre Recipes (http://www.amazon.com/Dominique-Ansel-The-Secret-Recipes/dp/1476764190). It’s a really beautiful book. however, even with the recipe, I would challenge anyone to try the Cronut. At the end of the day, it might still be a lot easier and better to wait in line to fork over the $5.