Holy moly. I take a week off to fish and pastry mania erupts. One day I’m on a walleye junket, the next I discover that a lust for deep fried croissant dough has encircled the globe. Cronuts are what they are. And if you haven’t heard of them, well, you must be living on a bass boat on Lake Escanaba.
Honestly I probably wouldn’t have heard much about them had I not received a score of emails this past week from readers wanting to attempt them. It seems that their inventor, one Dominique Ansel in Lower Manhattan, has stated that while they are made from croissant dough, the dough isn’t made with butter, since butter’s low melt point causes the layers to slide apart during frying.
It’s my feeling that the failure of Ansel’s butter versions had nothing to do with melt points, but rather with moisture content, as butter is about 17% water and the expanding steam probably blew the dough layers apart. My guess is he’s using margarine or some sort of no-moisture shortening-margarine combination in his dough. That would explain why knock-off homemade cronuts have succeeded with store-bought crescent roll dough, which is made with margarine.
If I were to try my hand at some (and I may have to do that before long since demand is growing) I’d use a slightly lean croissant dough (using maybe two-thirds of the butter that the standard croissant dough recipe on the site calls for), but using a decent quality margarine in place of the butter pat. Why a leaner dough? To keep the layers from really slipping apart when the dough hits the oil.
Anyway, those are my best ideas at the moment. Best of luck, cronutters, and report back with results, please!