Posted by Grace Massa Langlois on Friday, 21st June 2013

Cronuts – the new doughnut craze. There’s been so much hype about pastry chef, Dominique Ansel’s new croissant doughnut creation that it’s inspired me to try and replicate them. The new doughnut is part flaky pastry, and part cream-filled doughnut, how could I resist? Disclaimer, these aren’t your every day typical yeasted doughnuts, they do take some time and patience to prepare but they’re definitely worth every precious moment you invest in the preparations (plus most of the preparation time is resting time).

Photo of two Croissant Doughnuts, one cut in half exposing the many interior layers.

Not having the secret recipe to follow I had to wing it. From what I’ve read, Dominique said he prepares laminated dough similar to croissant dough but not really (hmm…what does that mean?) and the preparations take three days. He fries the doughnuts in grape seed oil but he doesn’t disclose at what temperature.

Grape seed oil has a moderately high smoke point, I’m wondering if he fries the doughnuts at a very high heat to achieve the height and very distinct separated layers in the interior.

Photo of Vanilla Bean Cream Filled Croissant Doughnuts displayed with pink flowers on white cake stand.

I had an incident with my deep fryer a couple of weeks ago. I was making homemade french fries when all of a sudden the deep-fryer started making very loud noises (actually banging) and before I knew it the lid exploded up in the air and oil went every where. Very scary, thankfully no one was close enough to get injured.

I thought about increasing the temperature of the oil but because I was using a deep sauté pan (fairly shallow) to fry the doughnuts I was a little concerned about the oil boiling over (a little timid after my incident with the deep-fryer). I may attempt a higher heat when the manufacturer returns my deep fryer.

Close up photo of HOney Dipped and Vanilla Bean Cream filled Croissant Doughnut Holes stacked high on white cake stand.

I haven’t had the pleasure of tasting a cronut but apparently Dominique said it should not be mistaken as simply croissant dough that has been fried. Can you believe scalpers are charging $100 per cronut? Would you buy one?

Croissant Dough is somewhat similar to puff pastry in that a butter block is incorporated into a base dough and it also goes through a similar lamination process with rolling, turning and folding but the dough really belongs to the family of yeasted dough because yeast is added to help with the rise.

Photo taken looking down Vanilla Bean Cream Filled Croissant Doughnuts stacked on a white cake stand.

Pasta Sfoglia Brioche {Italian Croissant Dough) is similarly enriched like brioche dough with milk, eggs and butter. I decided to use the Pasta Sfoglia Brioche rather than the basic croissant dough (not typically enriched with eggs) because I thought Dominique may have enriched the dough with eggs because they’re typically used in yeasted doughnuts.

I began my three-day affair by preparing the dough early morning on day one. Croissant dough doesn’t require as many “turns” which is necessary with puff pastry because it’s also leavened with yeast but I didn’t want to take any chances. I performed six turns (rather than my typical four) using the single-fold (letter-fold) technique allowing a good deal of resting time in between turns, one to two hours rather than the typical thirty minutes. After completing the sixth turn I rested the dough in the refrigerator overnight.

Cropped photo of Croissant Doughnuts stacked high on white cake stand.

In the morning of day two I removed the dough from the refrigerator, rolled and cut the dough and returned the cut rounds to the refrigerator allowing for another day to rest the dough and develop the flavour.

Day three, finally – deep-frying day. I have to admit I was a little concerned, I wasn’t sure how the dough was going to react when it hit the hot oil, would it expand, did I roll the dough too thin? Watching the reaction was a thing of beauty; the doughnuts started puffing up immediately.

Disappointingly my doughnuts don’t have the same height as the cronut. When I prepare yeasted doughnuts I usually roll out the dough to a thickness of about 13 mm (about ½ inch) but not knowing how the dough would react when it came in contact with the hot oil I decided to roll out the dough thinner (6 mm, ¼ inch). I thought I would achieve the beautiful height because not only is the dough laminated it’s also leavened with yeast.

Photo of freshly made Honey Dipped Croissant Doughnuts on wire rack.

I definitely miscalculated but this is the part I enjoy most about recipe development. I learn so much every time I try something new.

When I prepare these croissant doughnuts in the future I will make a few changes. First change, I’m going to use European butter. Using European butter comes with big advantages, it contains more butter fat than American butter, typically 85%, the acid in the butter tenderizes the dough (which makes it taste better), it helps the dough rise better and the pastry is flakier.

It also contains less water content about 15% compared to 19% in American butter. Lower water content makes the butter more pliable and it also helps prevent the butter from softening too much therefore making it easier to work with especially important when laminating the dough.

Photo of Honey Dipped Croissant Doughnuts piled high on a white cake stand.

Second change, I’m going to roll out the dough to a thickness of about 13 mm (½ inch). Third change, I’m going to chill the cut rounds in the freezer for about 20 minutes immediately before frying. And last change, I’m going to take Dominique’s lead and use grape seed oil instead of canola oil because of the high smoke point.

I want to test frying the doughnuts at higher temperatures in hopes that the higher temperature will push and expand the layers of the pastry even higher. It’s difficult to see the interior separated layers in the images because I filled the doughnuts with a good amount of cream (love my pastry cream). Finding the perfect temperature will be tricky because the doughnuts will darken quickly on the exterior, maybe too quickly leaving the interior raw.

Close up photo of Honey Dipped and Vanilla Bean Cream Filled Cronuts Copycat Version.

While I didn’t achieve the height of cronuts and I’m not sure if I achieved the flavour I am more than overjoyed with my croissant doughnuts! The exterior is crispy and the interior is so incredibly light and fluffy. What’s the biggest difference between a typical filled doughnut and a filled croissant doughnut? The pastry cream seeps in between all the separated layers so you can enjoy the vanilla bean cream with every glorious honey dipped bite.

Happy Weekend!

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Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Dolci Fritti, Fillings, Frostings & Dessert Sauces, Fried Desserts, Pasticcini, Pastries, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Recipes, Ricette di Base, Yeast Breads & Yeast Dough

Comments (9)

9 Responses to “Croissant Doughnuts – Honey Dipped and Vanilla Bean Cream Filled”

  1. Mr. & Mrs. P Says:

    Yes please!! These are amazing

  2. Amy @ So There. by Amy Says:

    WOW! These look complicated!!
    I just heard about these :)

  3. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Hi Amy, if you’ve ever made puff pastry you can make these, a little time consuming but really not that hard to do, and definitely worth it!

  4. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Thank you!

  5. Ben Says:

    too much work! I need to pay someone to do this for me.

  6. andrew lazo Says:

    the war on everyone’s pancreas wages on with the cronut!

  7. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Moderation is the key Andrew

  8. maria Says:

    I’m not sure I read correctly, is the dough ever left outside in a warm place for the yeast to do its job? I don’t really understand the purpose of the yeast if not. I’m planning of making these today (at least start) so wish me luck! And please explain the use of yeast. Thanks!

  9. Grace Massa Langlois Says:

    Good Evening Maria, yes you read the instructions correctly, the yeast will do its magic in the fridge. This dough has a lot of butter, if left to rise in a warm spot the butter will melt. I recommend using a very sharp donut cutter to prevent pinching the edges, if you pinch the edges it will prevent the layers from expanding once they hit the hot oil. I’m not sure if you read my post but I would also recommend rolling the dough to one-half inch thick instead of one-quarter. After rising in the fridge the doughnuts won’t resemble a typical raised doughnut, they don’t rise as much but the layers will expand. You have me craving a batch, as soon as mom gets better I’m going to have to make some, maybe for Christmas morning.

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