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The Cronut is a croissant-doughnut pastry attributed to chef Dominique Ansel for Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City. Rather than being fried like a doughnut, it is made from a laminated dough, more like a croissant, which is then sugared, filled and glazed.
In May 2013, the bakery trademarked the name. Imitation versions of Ansel's croissant-doughnut hybrid recipe have sprung up in Pittsburgh, Saint Louis, Los Angeles, Jacksonville, Minneapolis, Auckland, New Zealand, Australia and China. A similar make-at-home recipe has also been developed. These similar versions largely go under different names since the mark Cronut has pending trademark applications filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and internationally. One bakery owner in Ohio has trademarked the "doughssant", an item he said he came up with in the 1990s. A trademark is a brand identifier which does not protect the idea of all croissant and doughnut recipes. A Boston Globe article describes the Dominique Ansel Bakery croissant-doughnut hybrid as a food portmanteau.
The Dominique Ansel Bakery's website states that though the item is best described as "Half Croissant, Half Doughnut" it is not made by frying croissant dough, but a type of laminated dough using a proprietary recipe. It took the chef two months and 10 recipes to create. This dough is then sugared, filled and glazed.
In July 2013, Dominique Ansel Bakery launched a series of charitable campaigns with their Cronut product to benefit the Food Bank for New York City. The campaign The Cronut Project, sponsored by Dominique Ansel and three interns at BBH benefited Food Bank for New York City by raising over $6,000 USD in six days with only twelve Cronuts.
In September 2013, Dominique Ansel Bakery partnered with Shake Shack to offer Cronut Hole Concretes, featuring the first ever Cronut Holes from Dominique Ansel Bakery and brown butter caramel custard. Hundreds of people lined up as early as 4am at a chance to purchase one of the 1000 Cronut Hole Concretes. All proceeds were donated to the NYPD Widows and Children Fund and Madison Square Park Conservancy. More than $5,300 was raised.
At a live auction in October 2013 benefited City Harvest (a New York City food rescue organization) Dominique Ansel, with auctioneer Nicholas Lowry and Questlove, auctioned a dozen freshly baked Cronuts for $14,000 in less than twenty minutes.
Chef Alina Eisenhauer of Sweet Kitchen & Bar in Worcester, Massachusetts, claimed that she was the first to fry croissant dough and has been serving her "dosants" since 2006. Baker Roy Auddino says he has been doing "doughssants" since 1991.
A Vancouver, Canada bakery has introduced a variant known as the frissant. A version of the croissant-doughnut hybrid has been introduced in the Philippines. The croissant-doughnut hybrid follows other croissant variations such as the couture croissant, Croissan’Wich (trademarked by Burger King), pretzel croissant, croque croissant and Yummmm bun. A Montréal, Canada bakery named their version of the fried pastry The Cronetto, which includes sweet custard piped inside.
Due to its limited production and exclusivity, the Cronut pastry by Dominique Ansel has spawned a black market with scalpers selling them for up to $100 each. The original pastry price is $5.
At the 2013 Canadian National Exhibition bacteria from "cronuts" sold at Epic Burgers, a Toronto-based eatery, caused food poisoning in over 200 patrons. It was revealed that Toronto bakery Le Dolci which supplied the "cronuts" and bacon jam topping was responsible for the contamination. The "cronuts" in Canada are not affiliated with Dominique Ansel Bakery.
The Swiss retailer Migros started selling "cronuts" in August 2013. Ansel had previously announced that he intended to register "cronut" as a Swiss trademark. In October 2013, Migros announced they will no longer be using the name, now a registered trademark of Dominique Ansel's bakery. Migros renamed their item the "Big O".
Media related to Cronut at Wikimedia Commons