The Infamous Cronut
At 6:54am a text came in from Allison. It read: Hey! Hope this doesn't wake you. I had a change of heart and I'm in the cronuts line.
It was Tuesday morning and we had originally planned to wait in line to see the Rain Room at the MOMA, another of the summer's popular events that required queueing up for an inhuman amount of time. I didn't know what to make of her change of heart.
I wrote back: Whaaaa?? You are so funny! I’ll ride my bike over. Be there in 10-15 min.
When I rode up to the Dominique Ansel Bakery, at 189 Spring Street, the line appeared mellow and calm. It looked manageable––not as insane as the media frenzy had made it seem. I locked up my bike and joined Allison in line. We caught up, chit chatting as if waiting in line for a donut at 8:15am was a completely normal occurrence. I talked to the family of four behind us, the father sitting in a chair he'd brought from home, and the mother holding on to a bulky stroller. They said they were from Brooklyn and this was just a summer outing. The one-and-a-half year old grinned with one tiny tooth sticking out from the bottom and the three-year-old flew high over his dad's arms as we made small talk. He asked me if there was anything else they should get. I recommended the DKA bun which reminded me of a caramelized sugar bomb that I would get at Tartine in San Francisco.
The line stayed at a standstill until a sudden a rush of movement when, in increments of 30 (or so), a friendly baker in plastic clogs counted us off as we filed into the blissfully air-conditioned sugar factory. Then we formed another line, and waited a bit more. I looked over the lunch options: tomato watermelon gazpacho, grilled cheese, shrimp sandwich, and more. It all looked great, especially the frozen s’more that they torched to order on a butane flame from a can.
The month's cronut flavor was blackberry-lime, which had me pretty excited; I like fruity sweets. It had a smooth circle of bright pink glaze and a tiny sprinkling of lime green sugar crystals. We carried our shiny gold box as if it was a Fabergé egg, and found a spot to sit on Sullivan Street. Before we did anything we had a mini-photo shoot in order to supply our networks with the proof of our edible adventure: Instagram, Flickr, Twitter, and Facebook.
I took a knife and cut out a sliver––it wasn’t easy. On close inspection the cronut looks to be made up of a dozen micro layers of flaky dough. Each layer edged brown from the oven and dusted with sugar. Piped inside the airy pockets was a dense, sugary blackberry jam. Allison’s also had a white crème inside, but mine did not. On top, the swirl of glaze is thick and rich. As my teeth bit down through the layers I could hear a crunch, like a Lay's potato chip. Ultimately, for me, the sweetness of the jam and the filling are a little too heavy handed. I could imagine a version that had no filling and a lighter glaze, if any. Also, I would love to experience the cronut hot from the oven, with steam coming out as I tore into the layers. Which it wasn’t, despite the early hour.
After we finished our cronuts, we sat on our benches people watching and enjoying the morning breeze. Then I went to the gym to work off the calories courtesy of Allison's change of heart.