Monday, October 7, 2013

Croissant + Donut= CRONUT!

Imagine this: croissant dough cut into the shape of a donut, fried, drenched in glaze, rolled in sugar and filled with vanilla pastry cream. This, my friends is a cronut. 
This is the hot new donut trend that started in this small bakery in NYC. It’s reached National attention because people go crazy for these cronuts. The bakery only sells about 300 a day, with huge lines of people waiting hours to get one. Since I don’t live in NYC and am unable to get the real-deal, I have no idea how these compare. But who are we kidding? They are amazing on their own!
I was hosting a birthday dinner a few weeks ago and the birthday girl requested breakfast for dinner. I made all the traditional stuff: scrambled eggs with cheese, bacon, toast, a homemade granola with fresh berry compote over yogurt…but I needed a dessert. I wanted it to be in the breakfast theme and toyed with a few different donut ideas but was undecided.  My husband, Kent, had heard about cronuts on the radio and we both agreed they sounded pretty amazing, except for one problem- we don’t live in NYC. So when I stumbled across this video my interest was piqued.
When I told him I was going to surprise the birthday girl with a plate of cronuts he begged me to save him one (this is only worth mentioning because my husband isn’t crazy about sweets the way I am, so for him to be excited about this made me even more excited to make them).
After I watched the video I was hooked. The video made it look so easy, but they also left a lot out- like recipes for the pastry cream and glaze. So I’m going to break it down for you so you can make cronuts at home too! Kent told me he prefers the cronuts without the pastry cream, and this would save you a step; meaning you can have cronuts in your mouth even faster! But I disagree. I think the pastry cream is what sets them apart and really makes cronuts unique and special.

Now I see cronut knock-offs everywhere!
(recipe after the jump)

Homemade Cronuts
(makes 6 cronuts & 6 mini cronut-holes)

Recipe Notes
- I use Peanut Oil for frying because it’s tasteless, whereas other oils can eventually taste “fishy”. You can substitute Peanut Oil for Canola oil, if needed.
- If you are going to fill the cronuts with the Vanilla Pastry Cream then you will need a pastry bag (I like using a disposable one) with a coupler and a tip that is pointy, so it can “cut” into the layers of the cronut (I used a Wilton #22).
- I’ve made cronuts twice now. Once with just glaze and pastry cream, the second time with all the fixin’s- glaze, sugar and pastry cream. Rolling them into the sugar after dipping them into the glaze isn’t totally necessary, but it does help the glaze stick to the cronut, and also adds a nice textural crunch. It also makes it wicked sweet, so keep this in mind. Maybe roll 1 cronut into the sugar and taste-test it to see if it’s something you want to do with the rest.
- Just like any donut, they really are best eaten the day-of (this shouldn’t be a problem though).

Ingredients/Tools
Peanut oil, 2 quarts
2 sheets of Puff Pastry Dough
Tongs, Chopsticks or 2 Skewers
Donut cutter (or 1 large and 1 small circle cookie cutters)
¼ Cup flour
Thermometer (frying or candy)
1 Cup Sugar
Vanilla Pastry Cream (already prepared, recipe below)
Donut Glaze (already prepared, recipe below)
Pastry bag, coupler and tip

Directions
1. Place the 2 sheets of unrolled Puff Pastry on a cutting board and let it come to room temperature (this may take a couple hours). Spread the flour out and dip the donut, or cookie, cutters into the flour to prevent it sticking to the Puff Pastry. You will need to repeat this after each cut. You should have 6 cronuts and 6 mini-cronut holes. Discard any remaining Puff Pastry dough.
2. Pour the oil into a large, wide pot and heat it up to 350° F by using either a frying or candy thermometer. Once the oil is heated, gently slide in one cronut at time. Quickly use the skewers (or whatever utensil you’re using) and lift the sunken cronut off the bottom of the pan- otherwise it will start to burn. Once it is floating on its own, then you can add another one. Don’t overcrowd the pot- split up the frying into 2 batches. When cronuts reach a golden brown color on both sides (they should also puff up, revealing all their layers), then take them out and place them on a paper-towel lined plate.
3. Pour the 1 cup of sugar into a shallow bowl or plate. Once all the cronuts are fried and cooled, dip each cronut into the Donut glaze. If you’re not going to roll them in sugar, then put them on a rack and allow for the glaze to harden a bit.
4. If you are rolling them into the sugar, do this immediately after dipping them into the glaze. If you aren’t going to fill them with pastry cream, then you could just eat them as-is!
5. Assemble your pastry bag with the coupler and tip- then fill with pastry cream. Using the tip, force a hole into the sides of the cronut, squeezing the pastry cream. Make about 4-6 pastry-filled holes around each cronut. Enjoy!



Vanilla Pastry Cream
(I halved the original recipe from ‘Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America’ cookbook)
Makes about 1 cup

Recipe Notes:
- Pastry cream is similar to a pudding-like consistency. If you’ve ever had a fresh fruit tart, cream puff or ├ęclair, pastry cream is the filling. It’s delicious!
- The pastry cream needs to be made in advance since you need it to be cold and completely set-up. I usually do this the day before.
- The recipe calls for whole milk and I got lucky since I have a toddler drinking whole milk. Normally, whole milk doesn’t exist in my fridge. If you’re like me and don’t want to waste a ton of milk you can substitute ¾ Cup of either Half & Half or Heavy Cream with a ¼ low-fat milk.
 - If your fridge is even remotely stinky, put some Baking Soda next to the cooling Pastry Cream. Why? Because the pastry cream will absorb whatever odors are in your fridge, and no one wants a cronut tasting like leftover beef pot roast. 

Ingredients:
2 Tbs. Cornstarch
¼ Cup and 2 Tbs. sugar
1 Cup whole milk, divided
2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 Tbs. unsalted butter

Directions:
1. Combine cornstarch with 2 Tbs. of sugar in a mixing bowl, then stir in ¼ Cup milk. Blend egg yolks into the cornstarch mixture and stir until completely smooth.
2. Prepare an Ice Bath (take a large bowl and fill it with lots of ice and cold water-put aside for now).
3. Combine the remaining ¾ Cup milk with the remaining ¼ Cup sugar and the salt in a nonreactive saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat.
4. Temper the egg mixture by gradually ladling in the hot milk mixture, whisking constantly. Add the remaining milk mixture into the egg mixture. Return the combined mixture into the saucepan and cook over medium heat, vigorously stirring with a whisk, until the mixture comes to a boil and the whisk leaves a trail in the pastry cream, 3-6 minutes. As soon as the pastry cream reaches this stage, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla and butter. Put the pan in the ice bath and stir occasionally for 30 minutes.
5. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a bowl and press pastry cream through the sieve. This creates a perfectly smooth, lump-free pastry cream.
6. Transfer the pastry cream to tightly sealed storage container and place parchment or waxed paper directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until needed, up to 3 days.

Donut Glaze
recipe from here

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cups confectioners' sugar, sifted to remove any lumps
3 to 4 Tbs. milk
2 tsp.’s Vanilla extract

Directions:
1. Place the sugar in a medium bowl and slowly whisk in the milk and vanilla, a little at a time, to make a smooth, pourable glaze.









4 comments:

  1. These are amazing! A perfect treat.

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    Replies
    1. Aubrey, I couldn't agree more. Thanks!

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  2. I want to try making these soon!

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    Replies
    1. You should! Your missionaries will go crazy for them.

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