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The Journey for Cronuts

June 2, 2013

New Yorkers love great foods, especially a great food with a story as well as a demand supply imbalance.  And these days, the most in demand and short in supply food of late is Dominique Ansel’s cronut, a doughnut shaped pastry made with croissant dough and filled with pastry cream.  I am sure I don’t need to reiterate but it is so popular in fact that the limited supply of 240 cronut of so a day sells out so quickly that the line queues well before the bakery opens.

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The journey for one of Dominique Ansel’s desired cronuts for me started at 6.30AM on Saturday morning.  It was so absurdly early that I thought for sure that I would be able to comfortably stake my spot in line at the Soho bakery for opening at 8AM.  When I finally approached the corner of Sullivan and Spring, I chuckled at how silly I was and how many more food obsessed individuals there were in New York.

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The line behind me…

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And the line ahead of me after we turned the corner.

Do I even bother to add onto the craziness of it all by mentioning that this was at 6.57AM on a Saturday morning?  I am not an active user of Twitter but I half contemplated live twitting my experience.  The girl behind me had come all the way from Massachusetts for a friend who lives in LA.  And the couple behind her?  It was their last day in New York before moving so they decided to come by to see what the fuss is all about.  I am sure everyone in line has some kind of interesting story if one was awake enough at the hour to bother chatting with their neighbors.  I was not so I settled down in my spot in line and began reading my magazines that I had brought along in anticipation of the wait.

Finally, an hour later as 8AM rolled around, the line moved forward as the bakery started to let in the first batch of patrons.  That was the first time I got a peek of the line ahead of me and anxiety hit me.  What if even with a limit of 3 cronuts a person there wasn’t enough for me try a bite?  I kept on counting the number of people ahead of me and running the numbers through my mind as we inched closer to the front.  Dominique Ansel himself appeared and held the door open to greet everyone as they stepped inside.  He looked tired but proud.  He must be getting used to this kind of crowd since it’s been two weeks since his cronuts shot to fame.

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He humored us at the end of the line by answering our questions after he finished bringing up a tray of the cronuts.  The flavor of this month was lemon cream and maple sugar.  He and his team spent 2 months developing the recipe and each batch of cronuts take 3 days from start to finish – no wonder they can only produce a little over 200 each day.

It took another 15 minutes before the line slowly moved us towards the cash register.  We were getting anxious as the trays of cronuts were flying out the door.  Only half a sheet pan left and there were still four people ahead of me – I tried to mentally prepare myself for the possibility of not able to buy them but gave up as I know I would be inevitably disappointed.  As luck would have it, I was able to snatch 3 of the last 5 remaining for the day.  I know I shouldn’t but I couldn’t help but gloat a little as I left the bakery with a box of cronuts and at least a disappointed crowd of 30-40 behind.

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So how were they?  I would not be truthful if I said it was mind blowing and life altering.  It was exactly how I expected and how can you go wrong with flaky croissant dough that has been deep fried and filled with pastry cream?

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The first bite was so crispy that pastry shattered and I left crumbles all over my kitchen counter.  The delicate lemon pastry cream was just enough to not overwhelm the maple flavor.  A few bites later, the whole thing disappeared and I was happily licking all traces of the cream and sugar off of my fingers.  The cronut was definitely lighter than the typical doughnut and sweeter than a traditional French croissant.  I do love the novelty and imagination that went into creating the cronut but not sure if it was really worth the hour I spent waiting in line.  After all, Dominique Ansel’s signature pastry the DKA (Dominique Kouign Amann) is just as good if not better and available without the hysteria and wait.  Even Dominique himself pointed out this rather obvious fact.

Dominique Ansel | 189 Spring St  New York, NY 10012 | http://dominiqueansel.com/

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