Dominique Ansel Bakery needs no introduction. Its Cronut, a deep-fried croissant, has been copied to death. In Singapore, one can find an inspired-version from Da Paolo Gastronomia. Don’t bother with that. Before my trip, on every blog I read, a visit to the bakery on Spring Street in SOHO seemed like a must! Today I had a Cronut and am in awe. You have to make a trip to the bakery not just for the hype but experience a pastry worthy of being copied around the world. The Cronut will be worth the effort. Trust me.
When I got here, my best friend in Singapore asked me many times to go queue for a Cronut. The thought of leaving my Midtown hotel and making my way more than 50 blocks down south seemed quite sian especially given the cold deterred me. But yesterday morning, I was so bored to death with TV shows repeats that this time she persuaded me to quit rolling around in bed and queue for a Cronut. I will forever love her persistence.
I reached the bakery at 7.20am, ahead of the 8am opening. Sixth in line. Not bad. I expected a queue round the block. At 7.45am, a staff came out and handed us each a freshly baked warm lemon Madeleine’s. Amazing much?!
The lemon Madeline was so fluffy. Later, I got a pack of ten to take away for my friend.
At 8am shop, a staff came out, announced the Cronut flavour of the month then did a head count. Only certain number of people were let into the shop at once to purchase the cronuts. Entering the shop, we were greeted with the addictive smell of butter and sugar and this display of croissants with the famed DKA. I’m sure they were yummy but I didn’t walk for an hour and a 20 mins for these…
I seriously contemplated them but no… Focus focus! Alas, after placing an order for a single Cronut, I was presented with this bright yellow box.
You will see the buttercream filling is not even in half of the pastry. Dominique Ansel wanted to let the pastry shine. Rightly so. It’s a masterpiece! Crispy, slightly burnt exterior yet tender and buttery within. Absolute joy. I didn’t miss the buttercream. Although the thick coffee ganache was only found at the end, I didn’t mind. The textures of the pastry was so unforgettable. I really wanted another after but it might have meant joining the crazy queue outside again… No thanks.
Then on the way out, I stopped for some water and clean sugar off my hands when out of the corner of my eye, a tall lean man walked out from the kitchen: DOMINIQUE ANSEL, the Cronut King himself! I flagged him down and asked for a photograph. He was so gracious and unassuming. I mean he created a single pastry that rocked the world. I’m pretty sure we have had some copy of the Cronut at some point in our lives. But you will not be able to tell. We chatted for a bit. I don’t quite remember what the conversation was other than me saying I’m going to visit his Tokyo bakery in February and he said the weather will be lovely. Awww I was completely starstruck. He was soft-spoken and nice!
Scoring a Cronut may require effort but when you score one, you will realise all those inspired ones out there are just that. Inspired. There is only one Cronut and it can only be found at Dominique Ansel’s Bakery.