In anticipation of his upcoming cookbook, last week Dominique Ansel bestowed upon us a make-at-home version of his famous Cronut. The croissant-doughnut hybrid recipe takes three days to make, requires a slew of special equipment, and only produces about eight precious pastries. Obviously I had to try it out.
It only took two attempts, four days, and about five different trips to the grocery store, but this week I successfully made my first batch of this crazy pastry. Here are the ten most important things I learned.
I had my very first Cronut the week it debuted in New York at Dominique Ansel's bakery. I and my friend who works in pastry got up at five in the morning and were the first in line when the bakery opened at eight.
The hype for this pastry in the last year and a half has been exhausted (and exhausting), but the prospect of making them at home is new and exciting. I had to try this recipe out for myself in my kitchen.
→ Get the Recipe: Dominique Ansel's At-Home Cronut Recipe at ABC News
Here are the 10 things you should know before attempting to make the At-Home Cronuts.
1. Go to a baking supplies store when gathering ingredients.
Don't assume that you're going to be able to get all the ingredients and supplies for this recipe at your normal grocery store. You're going to have to go to a bakery supply store or order things online. Call in advance if you go somewhere so you don't run around all day (like I did).
2. You need bread flour for this recipe.
The ingredient list for the recipe just says "3 3/4 cups flour" and does not indicate that it is in fact bread flour that you need. The first time I made the dough I used all-purpose flour, and the second, successful time I used bread flour.
3. Don't let your dough get stick in the stand mixer.
When you're making the dough, the recipe says to add all the ingredients into the stand mixer with the dough hook and let it go for three minutes until "just combined." The first time I made the dough and let it go in the stand mixer for three minutes, it was too sticky. Could it have been the all-purpose flour or the speed I was running the stand mixer? Maybe. But just be sure to watch it while mixing.
4. You really don't need to draw out the measurements on parchment paper.
This recipe is not easy. Rolling out the dough carefully and keeping it cold is important. The last thing that makes this recipe "easier" is taking a ruler and drawing a perfect square on a piece of parchment paper to see how far you should roll out the dough. Sorry Dominique, but all of us at home can skip this step.
5. Proofing your dough in a warm space is important (but ultimately not essential).
Both times when I proofed the bread on the first day of the recipe it did not expand to double its size. In fact, it only grew a little bit. The same happened when I cut the dough into the doughnuts and let them proof. The dough just didn't budge. I don't have a great place in my apartment to proof dough, so this was definitely a part of the problem.
I was worried this was going to drastically impact the resulting Cronut, but I was wrong. The Cronuts were smaller than the ones I had tried at Dominique Ansel's bakery, but the taste and texture was there.
6. Be super gentle with your dough.
If you've never made laminated dough before, the most important thing to know before making an At-Home Cronut is that you need to be gentle with the dough. The dough needs to be cold, you need to add the butter to the dough when they are at a similar temperature, and you need to roll it out carefully.
The first time I added the butter to the dough I was impatient. I added the butter when it was too hard and rolled it out too fast and the result was a dough full of lumpy blobs of cold butter. Major fail.
7. Avoid the rose glaze and ganache.
The first Cronut I ever had included a rose glaze and ganache. As such, I wanted to recreate this first experience by using this flavor on my At-Home Cronut.
For as much time as you spend on the actual dough, you don't do much with the glaze and ganache. Both the glaze and ganache are relatively simple recipes (besides the need for "glazing fondant" which is hard to find), but the flavors are just off. The ganache tasted like a strong flower, and the the glaze turned out white instead of the signature pink that the Cronuts had at the bakery. I still can't tell if I did something wrong.
8. Remember to adjust frying time when using a smaller pot and different amount of grapeseed oil.
Grapeseed oil is not cheap, and I didn't want to spend an absurd amount of money just to fry some Cronuts. So, I bought a small bottle and used that to fry the Cronuts individually instead of three or four at a time. You need to adjust the fry time for each Cronut when you do this (I found 40 seconds on each side to be best).
9. Do not forget to make Cronut holes.
The most underrated aspect of making Cronuts is using the scraps to make Cronut holes. These might have been better than the actual Cronut: totally crispy on the outside, flaky on the inside. How are these not a thing?!
10. You can probably get away with making Cronuts in two days.
The first thing people said when the At-Home Cronut recipe came out was how crazy it was that the recipe took three days. If you've ever made laminated dough, however, you know this isn't that crazy. It's not so much that the recipe is time intensive, but more that you need to be careful with the dough and make sure it has time to relax and stay cold.
That being said, I bet you could probably combine the first two days of the recipe if you needed to. At least that's what I did in culinary school when making puff pastry. Just make sure to let the dough sit for a couple hours before adding the butter.
Bonus Tip: The recipe does not lie! You need to eat the Cronuts the first day you make them. They don't hold up well overnight.