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Sunday, August 4, 2013


The New York City-based pastry chef Dominique Ansel invented the Cronut in May this year. The Cronut is a hybrid of croissant and doughnut - a laminated dough that is proofed, fried in grapeseed oil, rolled in sugar, filled with cream inside, and topped with a glaze. Ansel said it took him over two months of experimenting with time and temperature to create this new pastry. Since only around 300 Cronuts are made everyday, they quickly sell out within a couple of hours. Ansel's pastry shop opens at 8am but a line of customers is formed much earlier. People have waited hours to get their hands on the Cronut. There are even scalpers who camp out to sell their spots at the front of the line. The Cronut has not only taken off in New York, but has become a global phenomenon, including being featured on the news in Taiwan.

In a recent trip to New York, we decided to try our luck and see if we could buy some Cronuts. Since we were jet-lagged, getting up early was not too hard. Actually, we dragged our feet and didn't get to SoHo until around 7:45am. By then the line had already curved around Thompson Street to the playground. The store opened at 8am and shortly thereafter the line started to move. By the time we got near Spring Street, a baker from the store came out and handed everyone mini-madeleines, which greatly delighted my two young daughters. The mini-madeleines were perfect, a reminder of our meals at Daniel, where Ansel was the pastry chef.

The store let around 10 people to enter at one time. Therefore, the line moved in large blocks instead of steadily, and it took us about an hour to get inside the store.

Once we were inside, we basically waited for people to pay. While the store had already boxed a lot of Cronuts which were ready to go, it simply took some time to run the customers' credit cards through the registers. As we waited in line inside the store, we could see the Cronuts behind the counter. Sadly, each person is only allowed to buy two Cronuts.

Each Cronut costs US$5. The aforementioned scalper asked for US$30 for his spot on the line. We bought a few boxes and took the Crounuts home to enjoy them.

There is only one flavor per month and for July it was Blackberry. In short, the Cronut was delicious. Croissant and doughnut are two of my favorite things, and to have them be combined in a pastry is just a delight and such a treat. Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin once remarked that, "The discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity than the discovery of a new star." I can't agree more. Ansel is a genius. I only wish the line wasn't so long to buy the Cronuts.