Cronuts, doughsants or whatever you want to call them, are always a delightful treat: shatteringly crisp exteriors with light layers of buttery interior……what more can you want from what is certainly one of the more indulgent things one can eat?
As I mentioned in my initial post on cronuts, I used to make versions of these decades ago by deep-frying circles of my earlier croissant dough attempts, before rolling them in sugar. But since Dominique Ansell pushed these into the public eye with his wonderful commercial version, I have re-visited them from time to time in my home baking.
A vibrantly tangy flavour:
I am using strawberries from the allotment at the moment in many of my bakes, and the filling I have gone for here is a tangy strawberry and lemon ganache.
The cronuts are dusted liberally with lemon sugar (which takes on quite the sherbert vibe!) and they are topped with a strawberry fondant icing.
Granted, these are a bit of a challenge to make, but they are well worth it. However, I often freeze some of my croissant dough for use at a later stage, which then makes cronuts a quicker and easier affair!
To save time, and for an easier but no less spectacular cronut, you can make a very good shortcut version using the quicker croissant dough recipe I sometime use: it might not give quite the layers and lightness that you get with a traditional croissant dough, but it does give very good results indeed.
You can make almost any flavour: one of my other favourites is passionfruit and vanilla cronuts.
I am, however, very partial to a salted caramel filling with a dark chocolate topping (with perhaps the merest sprinkle of sea salt in the chocolate) – a heavenly combination!
Getting an intense fruit flavour:
The richness of the dough needs an intense flavour to complement it. I used fresh strawberries and lemon juice in the ganache, along with strawberry powder and lemon powder for added intensity.
The lemon sugar – just sugar and lemon powder – works very well when dredged liberally over the cronuts.
Recipe: strawberry & lemon cronuts – makes about 16
- half a batch of croissant dough, defrosted if frozen (the rest can be made into croissants or pains au chocolat etc…): either go for a sourdough version – see above – or else use the recipe as it is
Strawberry & lemon ganache:
- 60ml double cream
- 150ml white chocolate, in small pieces
- about 80g fresh strawberries, puréed and sieved
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon powder
- 4 tablespoons caster sugar
- 2 heaped teaspoons lemon powder
- 6 tablespoons fondant icing sugar
- 3-4 teaspoons strawberry powder
- water to mix
- sunflower oil
- freeze-dried strawberry pieces or strawberry powder
(1) Roll out the croissant dough to a rectangle about 5mm thick. Use circular cutters to cut out circles of dough, and then cut out a small circle from the centre of each. I used a 6cm diameter cutter and a 1cm diameter cutter. Place on a baking sheet, cover and leave to prove for a couple of hours until well risen (or longer if using a sourdough starter): they should be almost double in height, but don’t over-prove as then they are prone to collapsing. Meanwhile make the ganache:
(2) For the ganache, heat the cream in a small pan until it just comes to the boil. Add the white chocolate and stir until it has melted. Mix the lemon powder with a little of the strawberry purée to make a smooth paste and add this, along with the rest of the strawberry purée, to the ganache. Mix well and leave to cool. Cover with cling film and refrigerate until slightly firmer.
(3) Make the lemon sugar: mix the sugar and lemon powder together. Taste, and add more lemon powder if you want a sharper kick. You might not use all of the lemon sugar, so store any surplus in clean, dry jars: it is great used in a sponge cake or for meringues.
(4) When the dough has risen, heat the oil to about 180C. Gently place the dough into the hot oil, about five at a time. Turn them over after about 2 minutes and continue to fry for another minute or so until golden brown and crisp.
(5) Drain the cronuts on kitchen paper and dredge liberally with lemon sugar. Leave to cool.
(6) Make 4 or 5 holes around the top of each cronut or around the side edge and pipe a little ganache slowly into each hole, going only until the ganache starts to leak out (you can wipe any leakage away!). I use a small round-holed nozzle for this, making a small cut first to help the nozzle go in.
(7) Make the icing: mix the icing sugar and strawberry powder together. Mix in just enough water to give a smooth, fairly thick icing: you can go runnier if you prefer the icing dripping down the sides.
(8) Pipe or spoon the icing over the top of each. Sprinkle over a few freeze-dried strawberry pieces or a dusting of strawberry powder. Give another dusting of the lemon sugar.