Cronuts, a deep-fried cross between a croissant and a doughnut, are selling in Singapore after taking New York by storm.
Da Paolo Gastronomia, a chain of Italian delis, calls its version Crodos. They are available in all its stores, including at Great World City, The Paragon, PasarBella, Holland Village and I12 Katong.
Da Paolo Gastronomia's Crodos ($4.90 each). PHOTO: DA PAOLO GASTRONOMIA
The Crodos sell for $4.90 each. Two flavours, one topped with chocolate and another filled with pastry cream and sprinkled with sugar, are available.
From next week, the Sugarloaf Cafe at Temasek Polytechnic's Culinary Academy will also start selling its version, called the Really Good Donut.
The square doughnuts with round holes are rolled in cinnamon sugar and filled with vanilla bean pastry cream. They sell for $2 each but only on Thursdays and Fridays from 10.30am to 2pm.
Ms Gwen Lim, 39, owner of Patisserie G at Millenia Walk, is also developing her version after friends told her about the craze in New York. She plans to sell them in two to three weeks' time.
Her friends piqued her interest in the pastries when they told her about the craze.
"We thought it might be fun to see what we come up with," she says.
Prices have not been set yet, although the flavour seems likely to be chocolate. "We don't want to sell anything before it tastes right."
The Cronut was first introduced in New York on May 10 at The Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho. Ansel, a French pastry chef, had worked at celebrity chef Daniel Boulud's Restaurant Daniel and also at French gourmet chain Fauchon.
Dominque Ansel (above) of The Dominique Ansel Bakery in Soho sparked a frenzy with his "Cronut" frakenpastry. PHOTO: AFP
He came up with the croissant-doughnut hybrid, which, according to the company's website "is not to be mistaken as simply croissant dough that has been fried".
The flaky, layered, doughnut shaped pastries have sparked a frenzy in New York. Some fans queue up as early as 3.30am for the shop's 8am opening.
The 250 to 300 Cronuts available each day are sold out in a flash. Scalpers charge up to US$100 (S$125) for a pastry that costs US$5. From six Cronuts a person, the pastry shop has had to restrict sales to two each.
Versions of the Cronut have also sprung up in other parts of the United States. And now, Singapore has been bitten by the Cronut bug too.
Ms Francesca Scarpa, 30, product manager of the Da Paolo Group, said its pastry chefs went through rounds of testing before coming up with Crodos.
She has never had a Cronut but says her husband, Mr Guillaume Pichoir, 39, chief executive of the group, had given her information on it for inspiration and information.
The first version, which was baked, did not taste like descriptions of the pastry.
She says: "It was like a drier croissant. My husband said that it wasn't supposed to taste like that. There was nothing 'wow' about it."
They did more research and decided the pastry had to be deep-fried. But in the first of those versions, the pastries flaked off like potato chips.
Finally, they had a product they could sell and tested it on a small scale. Customers liked the Crodos but found them too sweet.
After deep-frying, the original version is rolled in sugar, filled with cream and topped with glaze.
Ms Scarpa says Da Paolo decided to have a plain Crodo with a chocolate glaze and a pastry cream-filled one with a sprinkling of sugar.
Because a kitchen staffer has to stand at the deep fryer to turn each pastry by hand, limited Crodos are on offer and they have sold out every day since they were introduced a week ago.
Over at Temasek Polytechnic, students in its Culinary & Catering Management diploma programme were tracking the Cronut craze and asked if they could make their own version.
One of their instructors, Chef Marc Haymon, 53, who is also the associate dean of baking and pastry arts at the Culinary Institute of America, says the students use a classic French croissant dough.
The secret is in making sure that the butter is at the right temperature - not too warm or cold, and it has to be properly layered in the dough.
Then, the pastries are fried in canola oil at 180 deg C.
He says: "It's fun, it's faddy. Do I see it hanging around a long time? No I don't."
But referring to chef Ansel, he says: "Marketingwise, he's a genius."
This article was first run in The Straits Times newspaper on June 27, 2013. For similar stories, go to sph.straitstimes.com/premium/singapore. You will not be able to access the Premium section of The Straits Times website unless you are already a subscriber.