The Cronut describes a very specific pastry. Part croissant, part donut and entirely trademarked by the Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York City, it has fast become the must-have dessert treat of the year.
In fact, New Yorkers were seen wrapping around the block as early as 5:30 a.m. the week it was introduced just to get a chance at a taste before the bakery ran out.
But it’s hard to lock up an idea.
So while Dominique Ansel’s Cronut is “made with a laminated dough which has been likened to a croissant (but uses a proprietary recipe)” before being fried in grapeseed oil “at a specific temperature,” it’s safe to say there are others making a similar product.
In Oklahoma City, one need look no further than Kitchen No. 324, 324 N. Robinson, where baker Joe Williams is making something that isn’t a Cronut but bears a striking resemblance.
A former computer programmer and hobby baker, Williams found himself jobless after the market crash and went back to school to turn his passion into his profession. When the opportunity came to work with Heather and Keith Paul at A Good Egg Dining Group, he jumped at it.
When servers and customers alike began asking if Kitchen No. 324 would do a version of the Cronut, Williams took to the kitchen. After a couple of attempts, he had something he thinks might be even more indulgent than the original.
“It’s a croissant-donut hybrid base, and because it has that savory, buttery dough, we’re able to indulge a bit more with the accoutrements,” he said. “We start with a mildly flavored cream that fills the layers of pastry. On top is a heavier flavored glaze. And with the creamy and the flaky, we like to play with textures, so we add a little crunchy on top.”
Up first was a version with hazelnut cream and a chocolate hazelnut ganache, topped with chopped, toasted hazelnuts. Then came one with a maple cream filling and a maple glaze on top, sprinkled with cubes of Kitchen No. 324’s small-batch bacon.
The result was a sweet and salty concoction reminiscent of the best breakfast you’ve never had. That was followed up by a peanut butter pie edition.
The fillings change each week.
This week’s confection boasts raspberry cream with lemon icing and a sugar glaze.
Synthesizing the taste of the Cronut was no easy feat, but then came a new problem: The tasty pastry needed an original name.
The staff at Good Egg tossed around a few ideas. They weren’t bad, but none of them really grabbed hold, according to communications director Sheri Guyse. So Good Egg tapped into one of Oklahoma City’s greatest resources: whip-smart foodies.
It announced a contest on Facebook to name the croissant-donut hybrid and, in addition to the glory of seeing your work on the menu, get a $50 gift card to Kitchen No. 324 and a dozen of the newly named treats.
“We thought it was a fun way to get our devout Kitchen fans involved,” Guyse said. “There are a lot of clever names we never would have dreamed up, so it’s going to be a tough decision.”
Respecting the trademark is important, she said, but so is letting Oklahoma City taste this great pastry.