Many have heard of Dominique Ansel’s famous cronut – a hybrid that is a mix between a croissant and a donut. Flavours have included rose vanilla, lemon maple, blackberry lime, salted dulce de leche, peanut butter rum caramel and raspberry lychee. The pastry boasts the perfect flakey texture of a croissant while shaped, glazed and cream/jam-filled like a donut. Oh yeah, it also boasts lines that stretch around the block. So i’ve heard.
Usually sold out before 11am, the quest to source a cronut is no simple task. It requires setting an alarm clock so that one can arrive at the bakery before the store opens – and polar vortex weather does not seem to dull the enthusiasm as much as it should. The only place one can purchase the pastry is from the Dominique Ansel bakery in Soho. Online pre-orders are possible at the Dominique Ansel website, but must be made far in advance and you still need to pick up your cronuts from the store. What I do know is that the attainability of the cronut has improved greatly from when it was first created, as the hype has somewhat died down.
There have been many attempts by other bakeries to recreate this cronut, with varying degrees of success. I am sure that there exist many worthy alternatives out there, which are on par or may even taste better in their own right, but I wanted to try the real thing. The original. The famed sacred Dominique Ansel cronut.
Eventually, curiosity drove me to line up with the masses to see what the fuss was about. I have managed to live in NYC for 10 months without mustering the energy to get out of bed at that hour for a carb and sugar filled pastry. But on a weekend visit a couple days ago, I finally thought enough is enough. Commit dammit! Commit to your all-consuming love for food. I mean, how does a pastry get so much notoriety. It is after all, a pastry.
Arriving at 8:53 on a Sunday (keep in mind that while the bakery opens at 9am on a Sunday, it opens at 8am on every other day of the week), we managed to get our hands on two cronuts by 10:20. There were around 40 people ahead of us in line. I was very happy to see the bright displays of creative baked goods after over an hour in the New York winter chill. Most items looked too good to eat. Since the chocolate chip cookie shots were only available after 3pm each day, we also went for the DKAs (short for Dominique’s Kouign Amann), one of Dominique Ansel’s early creations. I’d also heard good things about the frozen smores but decided to stick to two of the options. Remember that each customer is limited to two cronuts per day.
We ate them out in the “outdoor” area at the back of the bakery – it was winter so it was completely covered and heated, so outdoor may not be the best description. I’m going to come straight out and say that I preferred the mushroom-shaped DKAs. The best part for me was the croissant texture, which the cronuts also had, but I found the cream and jam filling to be a bit too much in the cronut. It may have just been the flavour that month, which was matcha green tea golden pineapple, and I wasn’t particularly taken by the sour/tarte flavour. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, mostly the matcha green tea cream part of it, and if you love super sweet creamy desserts, you’ll love it. If you prefer something a little less sweet, but still want to try something from Dominique Ansel, then the DKA is definitely the way to go. Plus you can come during the day and skip the lines! ❤