After its launch in May, Cronut fans turned Manhattan bakery Chef Dominique Ansel’s original dessert creation into the crack cocaine of all desserts.
Cronuts — half croissant, half doughnut — are made from thin layers of flaky croissant dough that are deep fried, rolled in rose sugar, and then filled with light Tahitian vanilla cream.
In just over two months, Cronuts captured the cravings of dessert junkies across the country. Lines formed in New York, to buy Cronuts in the early morning hours outside French pastry chef Dominique Ansel’s New York bakery shop.
And because of the incredible demand, a black market emerged spawning the creation of services promising to score Cronuts at wildly inflated prices.
There are even various Cronut imitations that have surfaced in Pittsburgh, Saint Louis, Los Angeles, Jacksonville, Minneapolis, and Sydney, Australia, since the original Cronut creation in May of this year.
But who is Dominique Ansel, and why are so many enthralled by his culinary creations?
Star Chefs claims Dominique Ansel began his culinary training in Paris at 16, and worked in the kitchen of Pâtisserie Peltier. Ansel then spent seven years at the legendary bakery Fauchon, and eventually headed Fauchon’s international expansion, setting up shops in Russia, Egypt, and Kuwait.
From there, Ansel worked as executive pastry chef at Daniel for six years, and was part of the team that earned Daniel its first 4-star review from The New York Times, 3 Michelin stars, and the James Beard’s “Outstanding Restaurant of the Year Award” in 2010.
Sensing it was time to begin his own operation, he opened Dominique Ansel Bakery in November 2011, which was an instant success, and was awarded “Best New Bakery of 2012” by Time Out New York and “Best Bakery of 2012” by Metromix.
In 2013, Ansel’s cronuts became an international sensation, garnering him appearances on “The Jimmy Fallon Show” and “Good Morning America,” as well as mentions in The New York Times. Ansel’s work has also been featured in numerous cookbooks and magazines.
Dominique Ansel recently debuted the Gingerbread Pinecone — “a moist nutmeg cake filled with speculoos mousse and ginger caramel cream.”
Regarding his inspiration for the pinecone, Ansel tells Eater:
“I was working on a different idea using super-thin pieces of chocolate with cream and cake in between. It just wasn’t working out right, so instead of layering the thin pieces of chocolate in a stack, I started building them around the cake, and it looked like a pinecone.”
The Magic Soufflé
The Magic Soufflé is a Grand Marnier chocolate soufflé encased inside orange blossom brioche. A rep at Dominique Ansel Bakery said it was “a very difficult recipe to figure out” and that no one except the “chef de partie and up” touches the recipe. There’s also a non-disclosure agreement for the technique.
Cinnamon-Sugar Cronut Holes
Shake Shack teamed up with Dominique Ansel to offer a special edition Cronut Hole Concrete, made from “Shake Shack’s dense, rich and creamy Butter Caramel frozen custard blended with three delectable Cinnamon Sugar Cronut Holes, and a bonus Cronut Hole on top.”
Last week, sweet lovers started arriving at 4 a.m. at Shake Shack’s original Madison Square Park stand in New York City. Proceeds from the $4.50 desserts went to benefit the New York Police Department and Madison Square Park Conservancy.
“It’s the longest line in Shake Shack history,” said CEO Randy Garutti. The sale of 1,000 of the desserts raised $5,300 for the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association Widows and Children’s Fund and the Madison Square Park Conservancy.