I’ve made cronuts a couple of times on the blog and by now almost anyone that considers themselves a ‘foodie’ must know what a cronut is, regardless of whether they’ve eaten one! For anyone that doesn’t though, it’s essentially croissant dough that is cut and shaped like a ring donut. This is then deep fried, coated in sugar and icing and filled with a delicious ganache or custard.
The cronut is the handiwork of Dominique Ansel and after the success of this fried ring of pastry in New York, he has opened a bakery in London. Dominique has kindly decided to share his cronut recipe with the rest of the world in his book . I got this book a couple of years ago now and although I’d looked through it many times, I’d never got round to making anything.
When I did finally decide to bake something, the first recipe had to be those World famous Cronuts, I mean who doesn’t want their own homemade cronuts? After making the official recipe, I noticed a few differences to the other recipes I tried and these seemed to have a real impact on the finished cronut. The addition of egg white and double cream is something I’ve never added to dough before and it definitely made the cronuts fry up to be crisper, the centres were also a bit chewier, I assume this was because of the cream. Finally there was a different folding technique to make these, which was simpler and quicker than a traditional puff pastry fold.
Whilst these are subtle differences, I was surprised how much of a difference they made to the finished cronut. I’ve actually never tried a Dominique Ansel cronut, I’ve only ever made them myself. Every time I go to London I forget to pre-order one or I’m never in the right area of London.
Until I get to try an official one, these will most definitely do! I tweaked the recipe for these cronuts by adding some activated charcoal to the dough that I kindly received from Special Ingredients. I added the charcoal because I thought the colour of the cronuts would look interesting in black and I saw Edd Kimber add it to a batch of doughnuts that he made and I thought it looked really cool! I switched the lemon in the original recipe to blood orange as they are in season and I thought the colour of the orange icing would contrast well against the black cronut.
These homemade cronuts turned out much better than I expected, the recipe isn’t difficult you just need to be organised and methodical. It is broken down into sections and is made over three days, meaning it’s much easier to approach.
The charcoal had absolutely no flavour, but it really makes these look striking and the blood orange whipped ganache inside the cronut tastes really delicious. You really should try making these, they are much easier than they look and they are so good.
Charcoal and Blood Orange Cronuts
- ***Blood Orange Whipped Ganache***
- 2 Sheets Gelatine
- 190 g Double Cream
- 50 g Caster Sugar
- 117 g White Chocolate chopped if in chunks
- 140 g Blood Orange Juice
- ***Charcoal Cronut Dough***
- 525 g Strong White Bread Flour
- 25 g Activated Charcoal
- 6 g Table Salt
- 65 g Caster Sugar
- 11 g Fast Action Dried Yeast
- 250 g Cold Water
- 30 g Egg White approx 1 egg white
- 112 g Unsalted Butter softened and chopped into cubes (at least 82% butterfat)
- 15 g Double Cream
- 259 g Butter for a butter block softened
- ***Fondant Icing***
- 200 g Fondant Icing
- Juice of 1 Blood orange
- Orange food colouring
- ***Blood Orange Sugar***
- 200 g Granulated Sugar
- Zest of one blood orange
- ***Two days before you make your cronuts***
- To make the blood orange whipped ganache soak the gelatine sheets in a bowl of cold water and leave to one side to soften and bloom.
- Place the cream and sugar in a saucepan and bring to the boil, remove from the heat and squeeze out the water from the gelatine sheets.
- Add it to the warmed cream and mix until the gelatine has dissolved. Place the chocolate in a bowl and pour the warm cream over the top, stir with a spatula until combined and smooth, let the ganache cool to room temperature.
- Whisk in the blood orange juice, cover with clingfilm pressed directly on the surface of the ganache and place it in the fridge to set.
- To make the croissant dough, combine the strong flour, charcoal, salt, sugar, yeast, water, egg white, butter and cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix until just combined around 2-3 minutes. When finished the dough should be shaggy and will be a bit sticky.
- Lightly grease a medium bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover the bowl with clingfilm making sure it touches the dough so that it doesn't form a skin.
- Proof the dough somewhere warm for 2-3 hours or until doubled in size.
- Remove the clingfilm and knock back the dough by folding in the corners to remove as much air as possible.
- Lay the dough onto a piece of greaseproof paper and shape into a 25cm square, remove the dough from the greaseproof paper and wrap it in clingfilm. Place on a baking tray and chill overnight in the fridge.
- Next make the butter block, draw a 18cm square on a piece of greaseproof paper and turn it over, place the butter in the centre of the square and spread it evenly with an offset spatula to fill the square. Wrap the butter block in the greaseproof paper and place in the fridge overnight.
- ***One day before you make your cronuts***
- Take the butter block from the fridge along with the pastry. Place the pastry on a lightly floured surface, you don't want to add too much flour or it will make the pastry tough. Position the butter block in the centre at an angle, so it looks like a diamond on top of the pastry.
- Fold over the corners of the pastry and bring them into the middle, completely cover the butter and pinch the joins together. You will then have a square of pastry.
- With even pressure, roll the dough until it forms a square that is double in size.
- Now fold the dough in half horizontally, and then in half again vertically, to create a square of folded dough.
- Place the dough in the fridge for an hour to rest, then repeat the previous steps rolling the dough out to make a square twice the size and then fold the dough in half and then half again to make a square.
- Rest the dough in the fridge overnight to relax.
- ***On the day of making the cronuts***
- Remove the cronut dough from the fridge and roll it out to a rectangle around 40cm by 20cm, take a 9cm and a 2.5cm round cutter. Use the large cutter and then use the smaller cutter to create a ring. You should get 12 cronuts out of the dough.
- Line two baking trays with parchment and dust it lightly with flour, place the cronuts on the tray, 5cm apart to allow them to prove for at least 2 hours or until doubled in size. You will have some dough leftover, but don't be tempted to use it, as it won't prove evenly.
- Heat 1 litre of oil to 175C in a pan and fry the cronuts in small batches, two at a time fry for 90 seconds on each side.
- Drain the cronuts on kitchen towel on top of a cake rack and let cool to room temperature.
- Take the chilled ganache and place it in the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk fitted, whisk the ganache until it forms stiff peaks.
- Place the ganache in a piping bag fitted with a bismarck tip and leave in the fridge until you're ready to use it.
- Take the cooled cronuts and using the tip pierce each cronut in the top in 4 places and fill with the ganache.
- Make the flavoured sugar by combining the zest of the blood orange with the granulated sugar and place to one side to infuse.
- Take the fondant and place in a microwavable bowl, blast the fondant in the microwave on high in 10 second increments until the fondant is a thick but pourable consistency.
- Add the blood orange juice and the food colouring until you get the shade of orange and the consistency you want. Place the fondant in a piping bag and cut off the tip.
- Take the filled cronuts and roll the sides in the flavoured sugar, then pipe rings of the icing on top of the cronut, making sure to cover the holes of the ganache filling.
- Try to eat the cronuts within 24 hours to appreciate them at their best.
Thanks for reading.
Special Ingredients kindly sent me a number of products to try for free and the activated charcoal was one of them. All opinions are my own.