I Ate a Cronut!

February 13, 2014 8:53 am

When I moved from New York at the end of February 2013, order I’d been feeling pretty good about my run there. I’d seen it all, done it all, and eaten it all. I sat down to draft a bucket list and was pleasantly surprised to see how sparse it was — I’d experienced pretty much everything I could have ever wanted to in my seven-year run, and little was lacking. I moved to Cape Town, content.

And then the cronut came along.

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Rumors of New York’s tastiest treat had made their way all the way to South Africa soon after their debut in July, leaving me shattered. Of COURSE they’d wait till I moved far far away to invent the most delicious new concoction imaginable, a decadent hybrid so fantastical and yet so mindblowingly obvious at the same time that I couldn’t fathom what had taken Dominque Ansel so bloody long to conceive of it. I tracked news of this phenomenon from 8,000 miles away, patiently awaiting my own shot at croissant-doughnut frankenbliss someday, and fearing that it would be passé by the time I finally made it back.

So you can imagine, when I booked my flight for a return to New York in October, CRONUT!!! was written in all caps in my Evernote to-do list.

Being all too familiar with the cycle of fads in New York, I expected to be the last person around who cared about the much ballyhooed baked good, a full three months after inception. “I’m going to do a cronut run, want to join me?” I asked a few friends. They all looked at me like I had pastry dough for brains. “You’re seriously going to get up at 5 a.m. to stand in line, and you think we’re crazy enough to join you?”

It turns out, New Yorkers hadn’t outgrown the cronut as quickly as I had predicted they would. Apparently dough-disciples still lined up down the block all morning, rain or shine, awaiting their sugary sacrament, and nary a crumb was left after opening time at 8 a.m. There was even a lively cronut black market, I was informed, where for $100 I could have someone stand in line for me and deliver them to my door.

Sure, I wanted a cronut, but I also want world peace, and have come to terms with the likelihood of that. I glumly deleted CRONUT!!! from my Evernote and moved onto other pursuits.

Then late one morning I was headed to Soho to visit a friend, and decided to walk past Dominique Ansel to see what else they had on offer. There were a few people clustered around the register, and I perused the menu, looking for Dominique’s Kouign Amann, another pastry that some claimed was even better than a cronut.

“Two cronuts, please,” I heard to my left. I froze.

“Here you go. Will that be all?”

I swiveled around in slow motion, trying to make sense of the transaction taking place before my own eyes, at 10 minutes shy of noon, long past cronut-extinction hour. Confounded, I slipped into the line and watched as the four people ahead of me happily extracted golden boxes seemingly laden with cronuts  — a max of two per customer — from the cashier, in exchange for what could only be described as cash. Then it was my turn.

“Two cronuts please,” I requested timidly, certain that I was misreading the situation and would surely be admonished for my gall.

“That’ll be $11,” she replied, and handed me my prized parcel, one of three remaining.

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And that was that. At noon on a random Tuesday afternoon, I strolled in and out with the most coveted treat on the planet with about as much effort as acquiring a pack of gum at Duane Reade. The gilded box contained two of that month’s flavor, apple creme fraiche, and I scurried down the street to my friend’s place to share the wealth, clutching it close to my chest lest a mugger try to relieve me of my most valuable possession.

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The verdict? The cronut is every bit as delicious as it sounds. Mine had clearly been sitting out for a few hours and would certainly been better warm and fresh, but latecomers can’t be choosers. It was light, flaky, crispy, creamy sugary, and absolutely divine. Does it live up to the hype? Definitely. Would I get up at 6 a.m. to stand in line to have one? Are you nuts? Nothing in life could possibly be that good. Not even world peace.

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2 Comments

  • S.O.L.D. Inc

    There’s no Cronut “black market” it’s actually it’s a gray market since cronuts are not illegal. Cronut delivery is available now for $60 anywhere in manhattan. That $100 guy isn’t even in business anymore. (347)744-WAIT

  • Anees

    Wow, I’ve never heard of these – guessing it’s only in NYC at the moment given the comment below. I’m not into “creamy” at least when it comes to pastries , but all the other descriptors you used are cool lol. Your photographs sure make it look yummy though! Will have to ask my 2nd cousins in NYC if they’ve had them yet.