New Yorkers go crazy for croissant-doughnut hybrid

PUBLISHED : Monday, 17 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 17 June, 2013, 5:32am


Some hungry customers began queueing outside the pastry shop around 3.30am. Others managed to hold out for a few more hours, arriving at the patisserie around three hours later.

They were all united by a desire to sample the food craze that has gripped New York since its debut a month ago. Half-doughnut, half croissant: the "cronut" has left gourmets in a frenzy.

By the time the Dominique Ansel Bakery in the heart of trendy Soho opened its doors at 8am, the slavering customers were at breaking point. Within the hour, every single cronut available had been sold.

The bakery's owner, Dominique Ansel, says the crowd reflected the pattern since the May 18 launch of the cronut, a food sensation powered by social media. On the first day, 50 were sold. The next day 100 flew off the shelves in les than 20 minutes.

Since then, the bemused pastry chef has become accustomed to queues of 150 to 200 people winding down the street before the bakery has opened.

Ansel settled upon the idea of the cronut after deciding he wanted to create a hybrid pastry that would be instantly recognisable as a marriage of French and American food cultures.

His confection offers the delicate puff pastry of a traditional croissant shaped into a round doughnut, deep-fried, filled with cream, rolled in maple sugar and coated with a light glaze.

Ansel, regarded as one of the best pastry chefs in New York, said settling upon the cronut recipe was a painstaking process.

"It took me about two months to perfect the recipe," he said

It's so perfect that Jessica Amaral, 30, thought nothing of leaving home at 3am to get in line. The two cronuts she was buying were a treat for her husband to mark the couple's eighth wedding anniversary.

"I am the idiot," she said. "I read online that people were arriving at three. The others started to arrive at five. It's my eighth year anniversary, I thought it would be nice for my husband."

To satisfy the biggest possible number of customers, patrons are restricted to two cronuts each. At first, customers could snaffle six at a time, but Ansel restricted it to two after discovering the cronuts he sold for US$5 each were changing hands on the Internet at up to US$50 each.