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22 May 2014

Being a bit of a traditionalist, I'm rarely an advocate of fusion food. Hybrids have become very Hollywood, and it seems that these days east is meeting west, north, south and pretty much everyone in between. There's a lot to be said for the age old don't fix what ain't broke, and I feel a bit like a Masterchef judge when i ask, what's wrong with the classics?

The answer is nothing, of course, but it sure is fun to play sometimes. I've realised that complications aside, the hybrid model possesses a mysterious intrigue which it actually really quite cool. And so it was that I put aside my prejudices and daydreamed my way to a 2012 Manhattan, belatedly succumbing to the cronut craze.

And oh my goodness. All i will say is that I thoroughly disagree with Edith Piaf, and couldn't regret resisting these badboys more. The androgynous supermodels of the baking aisle, cronuts are the perfect marriage of the croissant and the donut. The sweet and crispy exterior is a match made in heaven for the soft, layered dough inside. Fill em' up with creme pat, drizzle with icing, and prepare to wow even the most traditional of audiences. 

While I made my own croissant dough - but cut this traditionalist some slack, I'm ravin' and bakin' fusions these days - you could easily use those nifty tins they sell in Sainsburys. Word has it that cronuts are classically flavoured with rose, but I've also heard tell of oreo-stuffed versions you could experiment with. Dream big. 

1x quantity of croissant dough (if you're making your own, try this recipe)
1/2 quanitity of creme patissiere (my recipe can be found here
200g icing sugar
75g caster sugar
3 tsp rose water
pink food colouring (optional)
freeze dried rose petals/berries
you will also need
1 litre sunflower oil 

Roll out the prepared dough to 1cm thick - this is much thicker than normal for pastry, but bear with me. Use a 3 inch cookie cutter to cut circles from the dough, then a 1 inch cutter (a wine bottle lid is a perfect substitute, as I discovered late on Sunday night) to cut holes in the centre. Reserve the left over dough, as this can be fried too - the centres make the most delicious little cronut bites.

Lay the cronut rings onto lined baking trays, and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes. The colder they are, the more they'll puff up in the oil- although try not to freeze them solid. While the dough is cooling, place the castor sugar and 1 tsp of rosewater in a shallow dish, and mix to combine. Have this ready to dunk the cooked cronuts into.

When the dough is ready for cooking, pour the oil into a deep saucepan, and heat to 180C. I'd recommend using a sugar thermometer if you have one, as it's easy for the oil to overheat. Once the oil has reached temperature, carefully spoon two cronuts into the oil, and set a timer for 1.5 minutes. Once the oil-side has reached a deep golden brown, flip over and cook for a further minute. Decant onto a wire rack covered in kitchen roll. Leave to cool a little, then roll in the rose sugar to coat. Repeat this process until all the cronuts are cooked and coated.

Spoon your creme patissiere into a piping bag, fitted with a narrow nozzle. Use this to 'inject' the cronuts with creme pat. To make the icing, combine the icing sugar, rose water, colouring and enough water to make a shiny, thick icing - then drizzle over the cronuts. Finish with dried rose petals or berries.


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