Sunday, May 26, 2013

How to crack the cronut recipe

If you're in any way as obsessed with baking and desserts as I am, you will have already heard about all the fuss that's being made over a trendy new confection that's tipped to kick the cupcake off it's pretty little throne (although, let's be honest, the same thing was said about macarons, cake pops and whoopie pies and yet we still adore the good ol' cupcake). Dubbed the 'cronut' (it's already trademarked by the way) this hybrid dessert sensation has caused quite a stir. Half-croissant and half-doughnut, it sure does have a bit of an identity crisis but the New Yorkers queuing around the block at Dominique Ansel Bakery don't seem to care as these deep-fried delicacies sell-out in minutes each day. There is even a limit as to how many you can buy! French pastry chef, Dominique apparently had to try 10 different recipes before getting the creation spot-on and his perseverance is clearly paying off. But since I draw the line at flying half way round the world to taste a dessert, I attempted to create my own cronuts. You know, so I could see what all the fuss was about. 

 

If you've made croissants from scratch before, you'll know that it takes an incredible amount of love, patience and muscle. And butter. Lots and lots of butter. But the problem with all that butter (incase you didn't know, half the weight of a croissant is made up of it - eeeek!) is that if you were to deep-fry the dough just like that, as Dominique's recipe (and name) suggests, it's low melting point means it would just seep out into your oil when frying and you'd land up with a flat mess. So, I used margarine. First problem solved. 


The second problem was the fact that, although the cronuts claim to be made from croissant dough, the texture in all the pictures resembles that of danish dough instead. Croissant dough, as I experienced, contains way too much fat, which makes it incredibly oily, as I discovered. So, that meant reducing the amount of fat in the dough. 

There were a few more problems I encountered but I won't go in to detail as by now I'm pretty sure you just want to see the recipe don't you? Well, here it is, the recipe for Kronuts (my version of Cronuts).

P.S. My verdict? Personally, I think these things are not for the faint-hearted. Essentially it's fat deep-fried in more fat and after just one my arteries were screaming. I baked a few rather than frying them (yes, I know that doesn't really make them a 'doughnut') and they were delicious (and far more healthy!). 


Kronuts with vanilla cream and orange blossom glaze
(makes 50)

Roll-in
350g baking margarine (I used Stork Bake)
40g cake flour (or pastry flour)
15g cornstarch/cornflour


50g fresh yeast
400g lukewarm water
100g granulated sugar
100g margarine
20g salt
1kg cake flour

Oil, for deep-frying (I used vegetable oil but Dominique uses grapeseed oil)

Vanilla pastry cream
500ml milk
1 vanilla pod, split and seeds scraped
4 egg yolks
80g castor sugar
40g cornflour
500ml cream, whipped

Glaze
1 egg white
2 cups icing sugar, sifted (plus more, if necessary)
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp orange blossom water

Start by making the roll-in. Mix the margarine and flours well then spread out onto a sheet of cling wrap. Spread out roughly then top with another sheet of cling wrap. Using a rolling pin, roll the fat out until 1/2cm thick to make 30 x 20cm rectangle. Close the ends of the cling wrap and place in the freezer until hard. 
In the meantime, prepare the dough by mixing the yeast and water in a mixing bowl. Cover and place in a warm place until frothy. Then add the rest of the ingredients in the bowl of a mixer using the dough hook attachment. Add the flour gradually to form a stiff dough (depending on the gluten content of your flour, you may use more or less, so adding it gradually is important.) Knead for about 4 minutes then allow the dough to rest for 20 minutes. 
Roll the dough out on a floured surface to 1cm thick then place the chilled butter roll-in on top. Do a simple 3-fold (like folding a business letter) and roll out again to 1cm thick. Cover and place in the freezer to rest for 20 minutes. Roll the dough out once again to 1cm thick then do another 3-fold. Rest again in the freezer for 20 minutes before doing the last fold and rest. 
Roll the dough out again to 1cm thick and cut out with a round cookie cutter and a smaller one, to create the hole in the centre. Place the pastry circles onto a lined and floured baking sheet, cover lightly and allow to proof in a warm place until doubled in size. 
Preheat the oil to 165C and deep-fry the cronuts in batches until golden and puffed. Drain on paper towel and allow to cool completely. If you would like to dredge them in sugar, do so while hot. 
If, like me, you would like to bake them, bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 10-15 minutes or until golden and puffed.

To make the pastry cream, heat the milk and vanilla until just below boiling point. Cream yolks, sugar and flour then gradually pour in the hot milk while whisking. Return the mixture to the pot and cook, while stirring until thick. Place in a bowl, cover the surface with clingwrap and allow to cool completely before folding in the whipped cream. Place the cream in a piping bag with a small plain nozzle. 

To make the glaze, whisk the egg white slightly then add enough icing sugar to form a stiff paste. Add the lemon juice and orange blossom water. 

To assemble, poke 3 holes in the bottom of each cronut with a chopstick or knife then pipe pastry cream into the bottom of each. Dip the tops in the glaze and allow to set. Serve immediately. 

UPDATE: Here's a little insert I did for the television show I work for, Expresso Breakfast Show on the Cronut phenomenon. 


video

*A special thank you to my baking partner in crime and pastry extraordinaire, Nino from CocoaFair, for helping to develop this recipe with me (and for doing all the muscle-work!)

64 comments:

  1. They look delicious (and sound calorific). I've never made pastry before, and I still love cupcakes so I'll stick to them.

    Odette
    O so inspired

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cupcakes will still be my one and only love, so you and I are on the same page, Odette!

      Delete
  2. Amazing! Just saw your comment in the cronut article in Buzzfeed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well Done! They look like a perfect start to this dreaded Monday!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anina! They are seriously decadent! But then again, that is the cure for Monday blues isn't it?! :)

      Delete
  4. Gosh they look amazing, lots of hard labor though!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely Nina! But I simply had to see what all the fuss was about!

      Delete
  5. OMG that is just so amazing - i am so proud of you - well freaking done. I did not want to even attempt it ... was too scared ... but now i need to taste one.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I notice a lot of comments on baking/cooking blogs revolve around how good the food looks, but nobody ever attempts to make the things :( So Katelyn, I'll make sure to come back with results when I make these ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is so true, and after all the best part of is the eating! Please let me know how they come out - it's a challenging recipe but what's life without a little challenge every now and then! :)

      Delete
  7. I love you!
    It seems so difficult for a new baker like me, so where do you live? Can I pay you a visit?

    kiss-kiss

    prettynyummy.blogspot

    ReplyDelete
  8. Girl... I tried to make this dough today... and.. the dough got too stiff from the start... when I added the flour in... the thing was too dry and horrible... what a waste... this is soooo sad... I don't have a lot of money to waste... I live in Brazil and... everything is too expensive. So... could you help me?

    How do I add the butter to the dough? My mom always added in the worm water before mixing everything in her old recipes..
    Should I add only 2/3 of the flour and then... increase bit by bit?
    Sometimes I think that brazillian flour is too strong already and I found my self always using less flour in every single recipe from other counties...
    Can I use regular flour instead of the cake flour?
    What is the difference... why did you pick the cake flour for this recipe?
    I really wanna try this by hand... (I thing my mixer is sabotaging me... =P) how much should I kneed?
    This worm place... what is the ideal temperature?
    Do they really double its size? or just puff a little?

    I have many many questions.. I know... but... I just wanna fell that my attempt today wasn't in vane... please help me...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Raphaela! Phew you have lots of questions! But I am happy to help :)

      Firstly, the dough is quite stiff but as you let it rest and the gluten relaxes, it becomes easier to handle. You can add a little extra water if necessary as all flour, even different batches of flour here in South Africa require different amounts of liquid. You just need to add enough so it comes together and is workable.
      The butter inside the dough just gets added along with the flour, but for the roll-in, you will see that it is frozen then folded into the dough and rolled out.
      It is better to add the flour to the water gradually or vice versa, as I mentioned, flours differ in moisture content so this is much safer.
      You should use cake flour as it contains less gluten than bread flour - but if you have 'plain or pastry' flour that will also work.
      Knead for 4 minutes - not as much as bread dough but just enough that the dough is a little elastic but it shouldn't be smooth.
      Warm place is about 26-29 degrees Celsius - I usually put the warming drawer of my oven on and put them in there.
      They should double in size definitely because you want all those layers you worked hard to make, to separate.

      If you would like to ask me more questions, drop me an email katelyn.williams(at)gmail.com and I'll be happy to help!

      Hope you come right!

      Delete
    2. Katelyn... You are so sweet! I'll give it another try again today... You said it yourself... "What is life without a challenge?" I'll probably have more questions... so.. I'll drop an e-mail really soon...
      This time I'll add the flour slowly to the water... and follow your advice and pay attention to the dough and be really careful so I wont make it smooth.
      Thanks for answering all my questions.
      Have a nice day!

      Delete
  9. Thanks for this post, I will definitely give it a whirl! I tried to get my hands on Dominique's cronuts on three separate days and they were sold out everytime before I even made it into the shop. You mentioned that you baked a few, can you let me know how long you baked them and at what temperature?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Pam! Pity you couldn't get your hands on them - I'm dying to hear first hand what they're like! I baked them at 200 degrees celsius for about 10-15 minutes until they were golden and puffed. Then I filled them as normal :)

      Delete
  10. Margerine contains dehydragenated vegetable fats. That is fats heated up and then cooled down to form solid mass. Directly damaging to your heart. Use butter or unaltered fats instead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, thank you for your comment, but if you read the post, I mentioned that butter will not work in this recipe as it's melting point is way too low to be deep-fried, causing the entire Cronut to simply fall apart. Baking margarine is the only fat that will work in the case of this recipe.

      Delete
    2. Hey, did you bother to READ before you just started to regurgetate your margerine info that your spew anywhere and everywhere? Of course not.

      And did you see what is being made? It's a dougnut crossaint with all sorts of unhealthy stuff in it but you're worried about the margerine? Not the starches, flours, and over all carbs which are damaging to every part of the body. You must be the genius of you brother and sister related family.

      Delete
  11. Convert recipe to ounces, cups, teaspoons, etc. so we can make them with our measuring units.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. or you could use google for that... lazy

      Delete
    2. I agree, why should the recipe maker have to do this for you? Quit being so lazy. I bet you're an American, aren't you.

      Delete
    3. I'm American and by your laziness I can tell you're American. I'm willing to bet you're probably from a more rural background since you seem kind retarded by not understanding google.

      Delete
  12. Looking forward to trying these. Will be opening a pastry/bakery in Panama in three months.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fantastic! Good luck with the venture!

      Delete
  13. When you say "cornflour" do you mean corn starch or corn masa flour, like for tortillas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there, here in South Africa, we refer to corn starch as corn flour. Definitely not the tortilla kind, as it is way too rough. Happy baking!

      Delete
  14. Hi Katelyn, thanks a lot for the receipt. I have tried to make them yesterday, but they did not come out as beautiful as yours though.

    When I tried to deep fried them, few of them just fell up in layers. The outer layers almost burned but the inside is still row. Should I roll the dough a bit thiner & fold for less times?

    The dough also tasted a bit too salty. It could caused by the margarine I am using. Does it make a difference to use the cooking margarine instead the normal one for spread.

    Thanks very much! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi there! Your layers split up because you overproofed the dough a bit. You need to just proof the cronuts until they're double in size but you could definitely make them thinner if you like - it might be easier. Also if they were still raw in the middle, your oil temperature was too hot. I use a candy thermometer to make sure that mind is at 165 degrees celsius exactly. Regarding the saltiness, it could be that the brand you are using has more salt, maybe leave out the salt in the recipe? You should be using baking margarine, definitely not the spread.

      Hope that helps!

      Delete
  15. Hi, at what temp and how long did you bake them? Deep frying just sounds too unhealthy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Eris! I baked them at 200 degrees celsius for about 10-15 minutes. Totally agree! Croissant dough already contains so much fat! Deep-frying in more fat is just crazy! But obviously had to give them a try as that is how they make the original in New York!

      Delete
  16. "I baked a few rather than frying them (yes, I know that doesn't really make them a 'doughnut') and they were delicious (and far more healthy!)."

    I want to bake these! What are the baking instructions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Justine! I baked them at 200 degrees celsius for 10-15 minutes until they were puffed and golden. I agree, it makes them more of a pastry but all that fat got me cringing when I popped them in the deep-fryer! Hope they come out as well as mine did!

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the baking instructions! 200 degrees Celsius is 392 degrees Fahrenheit, so I'll try 400F and see how they bake.

      Delete
  17. I tired them this weekend and thought they came out pretty nicely but I do have a question. I made the yeast by "mixing the yeast and 100g of water in a mixing bowl". It was incredibly thick and I didn't see anyway it would froth. 50g of yeast is a lot. I added the remaining 300g of water to the yeast paste and that frothed pretty well but that left the dough pretty thick. Did I misunderstand something or do I just need to get used to a very thick yeast or a very thick dough?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi John, so glad they came out nicely! You were quite right in added the remaining water so it would froth. I made the dough again and definitely agree on this point so thanks for bringing it up - I'm going to adjust the recipe. This post was more of an experiment than anything else as it's definitely not something I would make on a regular basis - it was more out of curiosity! The dough is pretty thick and stiff, but I'm sure you found that as you rolled the layers and rested it in between, the dough started softening a little and became easier to handle. Thanks for the feedback! :)

      Delete
    2. I agree it is a curiosity - but it was fun making something that is such a fad right now. It definitely gave me 'bragging rights' and gave me a chance to educate people. I will probably make them a few more times to 'get it right' but they are pretty 'heavy' so I am not planning on making them a regular part of my portfolio.

      I really appreciate your taking on that kind of experiment. I do not have the skill nor understanding to start from just a concept to a working, and tasty, result.

      I will say that the folks I shared them with all really liked them. I put 30 in the kitchen at work and they were gone in about 7 minutes even though they were about 16 hours old.

      Delete
    3. Have you figured out how to adjust the yeast yet?

      Delete
  18. I am not a baker....LOVE to cook but cannot bake! But I had to try these! I was not about to attempt making croissant dough because I knew it would be a tragedy so I used Pillsbury croissant rolls instead. And for my lack of baking skills they turned out DELICIOUS!! But I'm also Polish so anything fried is a win for me! Thanks for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh how I WISH we could get ready-made croissant dough here in South Africa! Glad you could take a shortcut and that they came out so well!

      Delete
  19. I love that you tried making these. You are my food nerd idol!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha thank you so much! It was definitely a once-off thing though! Phew!

      Delete
  20. This is phenomenal, amazing job creating the recipe! I cannot believe this cronut has gone global.. I live in NYC, and would not wait on a line for U$5.00 pastry...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! Hmm I agree! I'm not so sure about standing in line for a pastry... But I've heard there is a black market for them now!

      Delete
  21. Will you make a video of you making these?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to be shooting an insert for the Breakfast Show that I work for on Cronuts so as soon as we air it, I will share it! :)

      Delete
  22. KICK ASS!! this is a proper recipe! thank you very much.

    ReplyDelete
  23. This is America, screw the metric system, we American's still like to work in cups, ounces, pounds!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, but the OP is from South Africa. So you should stop thinking that the entire world hasn't evolved yet just because Americans haven't.

      Delete
    2. yes....and your thinking is the reason why people fly planes into our buildings.

      Delete
  24. So figure it out! The formulas for converting metric into our American system is easily done on Google.
    How embarassing!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I made "cronuts" using croissant dough. Deep fried them. The fat did not "seep out" as you said it would when frying. It was excellent. I cannot beleive that you made your with margarine. I would never in a million years use margarine - it is much worse for your heart than butter. Glad you liked yours, though.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Nice information, many thanks to the author. It is incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Using Margarine is not only embarrassing but unprofessional. How did you conclude that the dough looks like danish dough? Are you seriously a baker?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. shut up. "Oh noes! She used margarine! So unprofessional!" You're obviously one of those snobs who claim that if it's not this or that then it doesn't taste right when almost all people like you can't taste the difference of anything. You're the same as old people who claim they can't understand the internet.

      Delete
  28. Hi,

    I am very impressed after reading through parts of your blog. With your cooking skills I think you could be interested in this competition I have found. You cook your national dish and then you have the opportunity to win an iPad mini or money. It could also be a good chance for you to let more people know about your blog since you will be shown on their homepage and in a cookbook!
    Here's the presentation about the competition:
    Competition: Win iPad or Money
    And here's their facebook page:
    Facebook Page

    I hope you will be win..

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  29. Such helpful data, Good and full of inspiration writing. I will certainly be back. Will arrive back afresh. I am bookmarking your feeds also.
    http://www.hknightlifeescort.com/.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Oooh these look amazingg~ :)

    http://cafecraftea.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  31. So amazing! What a nice combination … Looks like will be a delicious recipe to enjoy. I am a lover of different type of cuisine and searching from internet and other sources.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Kate,
    can dry active yeast be used instead of fresh yeast?
    if so how much?
    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete