Bearing the looks of a doughnut and the inner workings of a croissant, this confectionery hybrid has become a near-global sensation since its creator, Dominique Ansel, debuted it at his New York City pastry shop in May.
“It’s very much like a doughnut and croissant and yet completely different from both,” says Ansel, who grew up in Beauvais, France, just north of Paris. “You have the crispy sugary outside of a doughnut and the flaky tender layers of a croissant on the inside.”
And it’s not simply fried croissant dough, Ansel adds—his dough is a specialized mix developed specifically for the cronut.
Customers line up in the early morning hoping to score an order of Ansel’s cronuts (ten bucks for two). And those growling stomachs aren’t just from around town. “We’ve had people come from Australia, Brazil, Singapore, Berlin, the Philippines, and even Kenya,” says Ansel.
What’s a far-flung cronut craver to do if a trip to New York is impossible? Not to worry, imitations abound!
At Emporio Santa Maria, a high-end specialty foods store in Sao Paolo, Brazil, cronut-like pastries are now available every day at 4:30 in the afternoon. At a cafe in Taiwan they’re served with fruit and whipped cream. Some Netherlands bakeries are riding the cronut wave too. In South Korea, the “New York Pie donut” is now on the menu at some Dunkin’ Donuts stores. In London, chef Dan Doherty at Duck & Waffle has recently introduced the “dosant” on his brunch menu. Then there’s the KLonut, Malaysia’s answer to Ansel’s invention.
Whether or not the cronut will make it into any food dictionaries or historic registers remains to be seen, but one thing’s for sure: the world is sweet on it now.
It’s hard to tell if this new dessert creation is just a fad of if it’s here to stay. It’ll be interesting to see if established donuts places like Mister Donut and Dunkin’ Donuts will try to launch their own version of the cronut in Asia.
Another thing to consider is if the cronut will be able to stand up to the more traditional types of desserts outside of the United States like the infamous pineapple cakes in Taiwan or the classic moon cakes in China. What strategy do you think the cronut should take to spread like wildfire across Asia? Do you think people like Dominique should steer clear of opening up shops next to pineapple cake and Mister Donut stores?