It’s really amazing, the everlasting appeal of the Cronut. When this croissant/donut crossover came out in 2011 from Dominique Ansel, it hit New York like a gooey, over-priced bomb. Now, years later, the Cronut’s popularity has faded, but the long line persists. I arrived at the small bakery at 7:30 AM on a Thursday, and the line was already 70 people deep.
Standing in line makes you feeling pretty stupid, as Soho residents brush past you on their way to work with annoyance and mild acceptance. When the bakery opens at eight, a cheery attendant hustles groups of 10-12 inside, as not to overwhelm the tiny shop. The line moves a lot slower than you’d expect, because many of the front runners are tourists eager to savor the moment, snap a picture, and order coffee with their hard-earned treat.
Once you’re inside though, it feels like you’ve made it. All around you pastry chefs are busy frying, filling, glazing, torching, and frosting Cronuts and other amazing looking pastries. All for you, dear customer!
Each Cronut comes in a fancy, distinct yellow box, which is extremely ostentatious on the subway ride home.
Pull on the flaps and it blooms open to reveal the magical Cronuts within.
I had gauged my expectations of the Cronut. I knew that it could never be as good as the hype… but I hadn’t expected to find it disgusting.
The initial crunch was very satisfying, and the layers were imbedded with the delicious, artery-clogging saturated-fat taste from the frying: everything you love about a croissant and a doughnut, amplified. But the inside layers were squelchy and soft; the quick frying process wasn’t enough to penetrate the dense dough, and they were stuffed to bursting with two different fillings.
Little known fact: Cronuts come in one flavor, which changes every month. For this July, the official flavor was Rum Caramelized Banana and Brown Sugar Ganache. An achingly sweet banana flavor was infused into the fillings, one cream based, the other more like a caramel pudding. The flavor was everywhere and you couldn’t escape it. I tried nibbling around the edges, and peeling the layers apart, but in vain.
I was so frustrated and disappointed I threw half of mine away. That’s right, dear Sporkers, after an hour of waiting in line and shelling out ten bucks, I couldn’t finish it. Although it really depends on the flavor of the month (I’m not a huge banana fan), there were other qualities lacking structurally and technically, and the Cronut has definitely outgrown its novelty. So why, why are these still so line-inducing?
I believe the answer lies in availability and curiosity. The inconvenience is no greater than most New York City experiences, and it’s in the morning, perfect for early-bird tourists. There is a sense of ritual to it all, and after, you can say you’ve done it. You’ve found out what all the hype was about. While there are many crodough knockoffs, there is only one Cronut. And being a culinary and business-savvy powerhouse, Dominque Ansel cleverly makes only 350 Cronuts a day. So if you miss them one day, you’ll just have to try again the next. And so the line remains.
Post and Photos by Haley Herrinton.