As we go into a new year, I’ve been reflecting on the hot food subjects of 2013. What were the trends? What will remain popular in 2014 and which new food fads do we have to look forward to this year? Talk about diversity - in 2013, kale gained popularity like never before, as did green smoothies and anything made with pork belly. The Cronut ™, a croissant-doughnut hybrid, was all the rage. And it seems chia seeds are still going to be a great way to supplement a healthy diet in 2014. I can’t wait to see what new food fashions will make an appearance this year!
Last May, Chef Dominique Ansel created a big stir with the Cronut ™ craze and hence, the most talked about food subject of the year. Chef Ansel is a classically trained pastry chef and owner of Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York. The doughnut-croissant combination is not to be mistaken for simply being a fried croissant shaped like a doughnut. The chef reportedly prepares only 200 a day, and they sell for $5.00 each. I’ve heard of eager pastry lovers waiting in line as long as five hours at time for a bite of pastry perfection.
As you might suspect, the recipe is proprietary and the name has been trademarked. But of course, many have tried to emulate the indulgent novelty, and giving it a try at home is less expensive than plane fare to New York! Although, the time involved is probably about the same as traveling from Texas to New York……and then standing in line for 5 hours, but it was definitely a fun project to try at home.
Some of the classic flavor combinations at the now famous bakery have included Rose Vanilla, Apple Crème Fraiche, and Blackberry Lime. I resisted mentioning the Cronut ™ in 2013 because I felt I would be obligated to try making them. It seemed a little daunting and a shame to make dough that resembles croissants only to fry it into a doughnut, as I am more of a savory girl who happens to love croissants. But this project was well worth the time and the Raspberry-Vanilla Bean Cream flavor I went with was quite tasty. Enjoy food made fresh!
1 cup warm water
1/4 ounce package dry yeast
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cubed
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
Extra granulated sugar for dusting
Vegetable oil for frying (or grape seed oil which is used at Chef Ansel’s bakery)
Dissolve yeast in mixing bowl with warm water. Stir in milk. Add sugar and salt. Place butter and 2 cups of the flour into food processor and pulse a few times. Slowly add remaining 2 cups of flour; mixture will be crumbly. With an electric mixer, slowly add flour mixture to wet mixture until the dough holds together, being careful not to over mix.
Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead just until it holds a good shape. Place dough ball into greased bowl and top with plastic wrap. Let rest for 2 hours. Turn dough back out onto floured surface and roll into a 9-by-18 inch rectangle. Fold rectangle into thirds forming a smaller rectangle; give it another roll and then fold into thirds once more. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Remove dough from fridge and discard plastic wrap. Roll rectangle out to 9-by-18 inches and cut doughnuts, placing them onto a baking sheet. Let rest for 1 hour.
Heat oil to 350 degrees F in heavy-bottom pan over medium heat. Fry each doughnut (and holes) for approximately 1 to 1 1/2 minutes, flipping over halfway through and being careful not to over crowd. Roll in granulated sugar while hot.
Vanilla Bean Pastry Cream
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups whole milk
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
Combine sugar with 2 3/4 cups milk in medium sauce pan. Bring to boil over medium heat to scald milk. In small mixing bowl, whisk together remaining milk, egg yolks, and cornstarch until smooth. Temper egg yolk mixture by adding a small amount of the warm milk and whisking to bring the temperature up. Gradually add in the remaining warm milk, whisking until combined. Bring mixture to a boil again and cook for about 3 minutes or until mixture is thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla bean paste.
With pastry tip and bag, make small holes, inserting pastry cream into 8 or 9 places around the sides of each doughnut.
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries, mashed with a fork
2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Combine all ingredients, stirring until smooth.
Top each doughnut with frosting and serve. Makes approximately 18 doughnuts.