Friday, October 4, 2013

This is Not a Cronut

"Cronut" - when I first heard about them I thought they were the latest food craze to encourage us all toward morbid obesity, like that sandwich at KFC with bacon, cheese, and sauce, but instead of bread, the outside is two pieces of fried chicken. Look, no one loves fried chicken more than I do (more on that in a later post) but there is no situation in which slabs of fried chicken are an appropriate substitution for bread. But I digress. The cronut was invented by a French baker named Dominique Ansel who lives in New York, and it is a something of a cross between a croissant and a doughnut. Again, when I first heard about the craze, I thought it was kind of dumb. Why does the world need something that's part croissant and part doughnut? For the record, I also thought labradoodles were kind of dumb when I first heard about them, but whatever, they are kind of cute so why be a hater?

I have not tried a cronut, but I am no longer skeptical. Peter and I went to the bakery first thing in the morning (so, you know, 10 o'clock) but we didn't have any intention of standing in the line that forms before the bakery opens which is the only way to get one of the 250 cronuts made daily. However, if you just want to get coffee and a different pastry from the bakery, you can walk right in. The cronut line is off to the side and a cro-tendant (ha! I just made that up!!) allows 20 people in at a time; you can order up to two and they cost $5.00 each. I have no doubt that they are delicious and I would love to try one some day, but there just aren't a whole lot of things I will stand in a long line for (two hours for a "Book of Mormon" ticket last year did me in for a while), plus there is the fact that I simply can't imagine anything more delicious than the DKA which I ordered all three times I was there.
line for cronuts
A DKA is Dominique's Kouign Amann, a kouign (pron: "queen") amann being a pastry I had never heard of until a few weeks ago when I noticed them in my local bakery in Queen Anne. The guy in line ahead of me there was overly enthusiastic about their deliciousness while talking to someone else in line, but I thought they looked rather plain and not particularly exciting. The guy in front of us in Dominique's bakery struck up a conversation with Peter and me and also had great things to say about the kouign amann - he said he didn't know why anyone would stand in line for a cronut when they could walk right in and get a DKA; I had to try one.

I can honestly say it might be the most delicious thing I've ever eaten. It's flaky yet chewy; there is no filling but somehow it's creamy; I think there's vanilla but maybe it's a touch of almond extract; and the texture is other-worldly -- it's pastry dough, but the outside is caramelized almost like a crème brulée. I can only hope that the ones at my local bakery are in the same league. 

...and Dominique was there and nice enough to let me take his picture!