Chow Town

Inventor of cronut releases original recipe — and it’s ridiculously hard

Chef Dominique Ansel makes Cronuts, a croissant-donut hybrid, at the Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York on June 3, 2013. The pastry chef introduced it in May 2013, and bakeries in London, Toronto, Seoul and elsewhere have copied it.
Chef Dominique Ansel makes Cronuts, a croissant-donut hybrid, at the Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York on June 3, 2013. The pastry chef introduced it in May 2013, and bakeries in London, Toronto, Seoul and elsewhere have copied it. AP

By now, you’ve probably heard of the cronut.

The croissant-donut hybrid, created by sous chef Dominique Ansel, was in high demand after it was introduced in late 2013 in New York City.

It inspired two local chefs to create their own versions, with similar menu items appearing at Dunkin Donuts and Jack in the Box.

Ansel debuted his recipe on Good Morning America Monday, but be warned: It doesn’t look easy.

The difficulty of the recipe is labeled as “extreme,” and takes about three days to prepare and complete.

Make at your own risk.

Dominique Ansel’s Cronut

Serves 8

For the pastry dough:

3 3/4 cups flour, plus more as needed for dusting

1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons Kosher salt

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons Instant yeast (preferably SAF Gold Label)

1 cup + 2 tablespoons cold water

1 large egg white

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (84% butterfat), softened

1 tablespoon heavy cream

Nonstick cooking spray as needed

For the butter block:

18 tablespoons unsalted butter (84% butterfat), softened

Grapeseed oil as needed

Glaze of your choice as needed

Decorating sugar of your choice as needed

Special equipment:

Stand mixer with dough hook and whisk attachments

Ruler

Large offset spatula

3 1/2-inch (9 cm) ring cutter

1 inch (2.5 cm) ring cutter

Deep-frying thermometer

2 uncut piping bags

Wilton #230 Bismarck metal tip or other Bismarck tube

Ateco #803 plain tip (5/16-inch/0.8 cm diameter)

Two Days Before

Make ganache: Prepare one of the ganache recipes below and refrigerate until needed.

Make pastry dough: Combine the bread flour, salt, sugar, yeast, water, egg whites, butter, and cream in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix until just combined, about 3 minutes. When finished the dough will be rough and have very little gluten development.

Lightly grease a medium bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the dough, to prevent a skin from forming. Proof the dough in a warm spot until doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours.

Remove the plastic wrap and punch down the dough by folding the edges into the center, releasing as much of the gas as possible. On a piece of parchment paper, shape into a 10-inch (25 cm) square. Transfer to a sheet pan, still on the parchment paper, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.

Make butter block: Draw a 7-inch (18 cm) square on a piece of parchment paper with a pencil. Flip the parchment over so that the butter won't come in contact with the pencil marks. Place the butter in the center of the square and spread it evenly with an offset spatula to fill the square. Refrigerate overnight.

One Day Before

Laminate: Remove the butter from the refrigerator. It should still be soft enough to bend slightly without cracking. If it is still too firm, lightly beat it with a

rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface until it becomes pliable. Make sure to press the butter back to its original 7-inch (18 cm) square after working it.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator, making sure it is very cold throughout. Place the dough on a floured work surface. Using the rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 10-inch (25.5 cm) square about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Arrange the butter block in the center of the dough so it looks like a diamond in the center of the square (rotated 45 degrees, with the corners of the butter block facing the center of the dough sides). Pull the corners of the dough up and over to the center of the butter block. Pinch the seams of dough together to seal the butter inside. You should have a square slightly larger than the butter block.

Very lightly dust the work surface with flour to ensure the dough doesn't stick. With a rolling pin, using steady, even pressure, roll out the dough from the center. When finished, you should have a 20-inch (50 cm) square about 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick. (This is not the typical lamination technique and is unique to this recipe. When rolling out dough, you want to use as little flour as possible. The more flour you incorporate into the dough, the tougher it will be to roll out, and when you fry the At-Home Cronut pastries they will flake apart.)

Fold the dough in half horizontally, making sure to line up the edges so you are left with a rectangle. Then fold the dough vertically. You should have a 10-inch (25.5 cm) square of dough with 4 layers. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Repeat steps 3 and 4. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The Day Of

Cut dough: On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 15-inch (40 cm) square about 1/2-inch (1.3 cm) thick. Transfer the dough to a half sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour to relax.

Using a 3 1/2-inch (9 cm) ring cutter, cut 12 rounds. Cut out the center of each round with a 1-inch (2.5 cm) ring cutter to create the doughnut shape.

Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and lightly dust the parchment with flour. Place the At-Home Cronut pastries on the pan, spacing them about 3 inches (8 cm) apart. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with nonstick spray and lay it on top of the pastries. Proof in a warm spot until tripled in size, about 2 hours. (It's best to proof At-Home Cronut pastries in a warm, humid place. But if the proofing area is too warm, the butter will melt, so do not place the pastries on top of the oven or near another direct source of heat.

Fry dough: Heat the grapeseed oil in a large pot until it reaches 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Use a deep-frying thermometer to verify that the oil is at the right temperature. (The temperature of the oil is very important to the frying process. If it is too low, the pastries will be greasy; too high, the inside will be undercooked while the outside is burnt.) Line a platter with several layers of paper towels for draining the pastries.

Gently place 3 or 4 of them at a time into the hot oil. Fry for about 90 seconds on each side, flipping once, until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towels.

Check that the oil is at the right temperature. If not, let it heat up again before frying the next batch. Continue until all of them are fried.

Let cool completely before filling.

Make glaze: Prepare the glaze below that corresponds to your choice of ganache.

Make flavored sugar: Prepare the decorating sugar on page 208 that corresponds to your choice of ganache.

Assemble: Transfer the ganache to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk. Whip on high speed until the ganache holds a stiff peak. (If using the Champagne-chocolate ganache, simply whisk it until smooth. It will be quite thick already.)

Cut the tip of a piping bag to snugly fit the Bismarck tip. Using a rubber spatula, place 2 large scoops of ganache in a piping bag so that it is one-third full. Push the ganache down toward the tip of the bag.

Place the decorating sugar that corresponds to your choice of ganache and glaze in a bowl.

Arrange each At-Home Cronut pastry so that the flatter side is facing up. Inject the ganache through the top of the pastry in four different spots, evenly spaced. As you pipe the ganache, you should feel the pastry getting heavier in your hand.

Place the pastry on its side. Roll in the corresponding sugar, coating the outside edges.

If the glaze has cooled, microwave it for a few seconds to warm until soft. Cut the tip of a piping bag to snugly fit a #803 plain tip. Using a rubber spatula, transfer the glaze to the bag. Push the glaze down toward the tip of the bag.

Pipe a ring of glaze around the top of each At-Home Cronut pastry, making sure to cover all the holes created from the filling. Keep in mind that the glaze will continue to spread slightly as it cools. Let the glaze set for about 15 minutes before serving.

Serving instructions: Because the At-Home Cronut pastry is cream-filled, it must be served at room temperature.

Storage instructions: Consume within 8 hours of frying. Leftover ganache can be stored in a closed airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 days. Leftover flavored sugar can keep in a closed airtight container for weeks and can be used to macerate fruits or sweeten drinks.

For recipes on Ansel’s ganache, flavored sugars and glazes, click here.

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