Outside Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City lines form every morning down the street. The cause of this? A fusion of French and American patisserie known as a Cronut – Croissant dough shaped into a doughnut ring, fried and filled with ever changing flavoured creams according to the season finished with icing on the top. Concerned about the calories? You should be.
We weren’t planning on heading all the way to America to sample this heart attack circle, oooh no. Dominique Ansel has a bakery conveniently next to Victoria Coach Station in London, where we were due to depart after another quality weekend away in the capital. The bakery is on the same street as other top places for a bite of something sweet such as our long time favourite, Peggy Porschen.
If you’re reading this and thinking ‘I’ll just pop down to Dom’s and pick one of these Cronut’s up’ think again! Due to the demand and the popularity of the Cronut, in addition to the time it takes to make, you’re looking at placing your order up to 48 hours in advance with a maximum order of 10 a time – if you can stomach it. The price though is a modest £4 per Cronut and let’s face it, you’re only going to want one per person unless you’re in a mad rush for diabetes.
We ordered our Cronut’s a few weeks ahead not even knowing what flavour we were in for. As it turned out the winter Cronut is a combination of quince and creme brulee flavoured cream, yum. Excitement got the better of us as we marched down Elizabeth Street past hordes of travellers arriving from the station in anticipation of pastry heaven.
The place was busy when we arrived. Due to the celebrity of Dominique Ansel, the bakery is a magnet for tourists in an already touristy area of London. Seating was at a premium so we headed to the counter to take our Cronuts away. The ordering process was pretty simple, the pastries were paid for online so all you have to do is present your printed confirmation to the staff. In some ways it was a shame that we were only going for one thing because the selection of cakes and pastries looked stunning on display.
This is a proper bakery owned by a pastry chef rated the best in the world as of 2017 by the 50 best restaurants awards. So you’re going to get a decent box and a flashy yellow bag to take away your goods, whether it be a birthday cake or a pain au chocolat. We took our designer bag over the road to get our first look at the famous pastry and test the theory that this is the most unhealthy, heavy and popular pastry item around.
I have to say it looked beautiful, the lamination all the way through was expertly even and the colour completely uniform. A speck of gold leaf added a touch of class to this dirty doughnut along with the rich icing on the top. Time to dig in…
I was expecting heavy, greasy and a crippling sugar rush in the first bite, I got none of those. This pastry is surprisingly light and makes complete sense. There’s not a hint of grease, just crispy goodness that you get with a perfectly made croissant. The filling was beautiful with a quince jam and the creme brulee cream reminiscent of rhubarb and custard, absolutely amazing.
The icing on the top just adds that sweetness to balance everything as the pastry and filling weren’t overly sweet at all. Everything works perfectly and defied expectation massively. We watched Richard Ayoade of Channel 4’s Travel Man sample the Cronut in New York where he put great exaggerated emphasis on how sugary and bad for you this pastry is, as a result of that I was thinking that I would never finish it. I can tell you now that his analysis isn’t entirely accurate.
In my opinion it was £4 well spent to sample the creation of one of the best. The Cronut surprised me in ways that I never expected – in fact, I’d go as far to say that I love it and want another one. With the ever changing flavours it keeps the pastry interesting and exciting, a trip to London now will not be complete without a croissant masquerading as a doughnut. Get your order in online and try it for yourself, it might just become your guilty pleasure.
Opening times: Monday – Saturday 0800-2000
Website (Cronut orders): http://dominiqueansellondon.com/shop/cronutorder/
Nearest tube station: Victoria