It’s been ten days since I returned to Czech Republic for my winter break. I finished my fall quarter at SCAD with great results and a 4.0 GPA. I feel so happy for passing my review for candidacy to take my thesis in spring. As I was telling you all here, Sculpture has also opened so many new horizons for me, and slowly when I will get more time, I will share the results of my sculpture projects with you too. With all the work that went into this past quarter, I can only feel exhilarated to be home with my better half and my sweet cat, and enjoy the holidays and the winter in family and in the comfort of my home. I needed so much this time away and this break, to get time to rest and come back in January with more energy to continue my journey at SCAD.
And since winter is already here in Czech Republic, I needed to start baking and give a try to this decadent cronut recipe. I was missing my spare time and baking experiments, therefore this cronut recipe was perfect to start off. Since the recipe is so complicated and time consuming, I skipped the steps with adding ganache and opted for a more light version with raspberry glaze and coconut flakes. Either way, I guarantee you that you will love these cronuts and want to make and eat more. I will get back in a few days with a couple of surprises to share with you! Till then sip your coffee or tea and let yourself be indulged by these cronuts!
For the pastry dough (recipe by Dominique Ansel):
3 3/4 cups flour, plus more as needed for dusting
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon + 1 1/2 teaspoons Instant yeast
1 cup + 2 tablespoons cold water
1 large egg white
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (84% butterfat), softened
1 tablespoon heavy cream
Nonstick cooking spray as needed
For the butter block:
18 tablespoons unsalted butter (84% butterfat), softened
Grapeseed oil as needed (I used sunflower oil)
Glaze of your choice as needed (I used raspberry honey)
Decorating sugar of your choice as needed (I used coconut flakes)
Two Days Before
Make pastry dough:
1. Combine the bread flour, salt, sugar, yeast, water, egg whites, butter, and cream in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix until just combined, about 3 minutes. When finished, the dough will be rough and have very little gluten development.
2. Lightly grease a medium bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap pressed directly on the surface of the dough, to prevent a skin from forming. Proof the dough in a warm spot until doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours.
3. Remove the plastic wrap and punch down the dough by folding the edges into the center, releasing as much of the gas as possible. On a piece of parchment paper, shape into a 10-inch (25 cm) square. Transfer to a sheet pan, still on the parchment paper, and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate overnight.
Make butter block:
1. Draw a 7-inch (18 cm) square on a piece of parchment paper with a pencil. Flip the parchment over so that the butter won’t come in contact with the pencil marks. Place the butter in the center of the square and spread it evenly with an offset spatula to fill the square. Refrigerate overnight.
One Day Before
1. Remove the butter from the refrigerator. It should still be soft enough to bend slightly without cracking. If it is still too firm, lightly beat it with a rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface until it becomes pliable. Make sure to press the butter back to its original 7-inch (18 cm) square after working it.
2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, making sure it is very cold throughout. Place the dough on a floured work surface. Using the rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 10-inch (25.5 cm) square about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Arrange the butter block in the center of the dough so it looks like a diamond in the center of the square (rotated 45 degrees, with the corners of the butter block facing the center of the dough sides). Pull the corners of the dough up and over to the center of the butter block. Pinch the seams of dough together to seal the butter inside. You should have a square slightly larger than the butter block.
3. Very lightly dust the work surface with flour to ensure the dough doesn’t stick. With a rolling pin, using steady, even pressure, roll out the dough from the center. When finished, you should have a 20-inch (50 cm) square about 1/4-inch (6 mm) thick. (This is not the typical lamination technique and is unique to this recipe. When rolling out dough, you want to use as little flour as possible. The more flour you incorporate into the dough, the tougher it will be to roll out, and when you fry the cronut pastries they will flake apart.)
4. Fold the dough in half horizontally, making sure to line up the edges so you are left with a rectangle. Then fold the dough vertically. You should have a 10-inch (25.5 cm) square of dough with 4 layers. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The Day Of
1. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 15-inch (40 cm) square about 1/2-inch (1.3 cm) thick. Transfer the dough to a half sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour to relax.
2. Using a 3 1/2-inch (9 cm) ring cutter, cut 12 rounds. Cut out the center of each round with a 1-inch (2.5 cm) ring cutter to create the doughnut shape.
3. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and lightly dust the parchment with flour. Place the cronut pastries on the pan, spacing them about 3 inches (8 cm) apart. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with nonstick spray and lay it on top of the pastries. Proof in a warm spot until tripled in size, about 2 hours. (It’s best to proof cronut pastries in a warm, humid place. But if the proofing area is too warm, the butter will melt, so do not place the pastries on top of the oven or near another direct source of heat.
1. Heat the grapeseed oil in a large pot until it reaches 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Use a deep-frying thermometer to verify that the oil is at the right temperature. (The temperature of the oil is very important to the frying process. If it is too low, the pastries will be greasy; too high, the inside will be undercooked while the outside is burnt.) Line a platter with several layers of paper towels for draining the pastries.
2. Gently place 3 or 4 of them at a time into the hot oil. Fry for about 90 seconds on each side, flipping once, until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towels.
3. Check that the oil is at the right temperature. If not, let it heat up again before frying the next batch. Continue until all of them are fried.
4. Let cool completely before filling or glazing.