It peels away in layers, but it’s shaped like a doughnut. It tastes of sweet yeast, butter, and rose petals, but it’s light and airy inside like a well-cooked croissant. What the hell is it? Dominique Ansel‘s new cream-filled “croissant-donut,” or cronut ($5).
Ansel is the classically trained French chef who ran the pastry kitchen at Daniel before opening his own place. He’s delighted us over the years with his renditions of esoteric pastries like the kouign-amann, simple sablés, and quirkier holiday sweets like his Angry Bird Easter eggs. And the cronut is a masterpiece.
Deep-frying raw croissants isn’t an easy thing to do, but Ansel has tinkered with the yeasted, laminated dough so that its soft, thin layers are maintained when they hit the oil, crisping slightly on the edges. This month, he’s filling the pastries with a little vanilla-flavored cream — barely sweet — and glazing them with a lovely rose-flavored frosting and candied rose petals. It’s as beautiful as it is delicious, and way more sophisticated than its pink and sparkly appearance lets on.
Pop in for a taste, but remember the early bird gets the cronut: Ansel sold out of the pastry by 8:35 this morning, just 35 minutes after the bakery opened its doors.