Just when I thought there was nothing new to try and bake, NYC’s Dominique Ansel came up with the cronut, the croissant-doughnut hybrid. He’s since trademarked the word (ugh) but recipes for similar wheel-shaped bits of deliciousness started popping up, and I had to try one.
I went with Edd Kimber’s 2-day straightforward recipe (for what he calls a “fauxnut” and what I am calling “fonut” because “faux” just looks annoying). He starts with a pretty easy croissant dough, which cuts down on labor, but wow, are these still a ton of work. I can almost understand charging $5 per pastry. Almost.
All that work is worth it, though – these were fluffy, flaky, and perfectly flavored. I was totally skeptical of the lemon glaze, but it really makes the fonut. As does the vanilla cream filling. As do the flaky layers. Ok the whole thing is just GOOD.
So I’ve taken Kimber’s recipe, changed everything into American measures because… well… patriotism? and a preference for volume over weight. I’ve made a few small changes to some methods and to the order of things, but the credit really goes to him for this recipe.
Remember: I said this is a 2-day event. Start the night before you want to eat!
What you need (in addition to the usuals):
Room to roll out some dough
A rolling pin
Two round cookie/dough cutters: 1) 3.5 inches, 2) 1 inch
A pastry brush
At least two quarts of vegetable (or other) oil
A cooking thermometer (preferably one that clips to the side of your pot, but one you can dip into the oil occasionally to monitor frying temp is fine too)
A piping bag and pointy tip*
*I didn’t realize I didn’t own this until it was time to fill the fonuts. Oops. I easily improvised with the spout from my glass olive oil bottle and a gallon Ziploc bag!
For the dough:
1/2 cup warm whole milk
2/3 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
4 tsp dry active yeast
5 tblsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 2/3 sticks of butter
For the sugaring:
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 lemon
For the filling:
1 1/4 cups cold whole milk
1 vanilla bean pod
4 egg yolks
2 tblsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
For the glaze:
Juice of 1 lemon
~1 cup powdered sugar*
*maybe more, depending on how juicy your lemon is, and how thick you like your glaze
Start the dough by mixing the milk, water, and yeast into a medium bowl, and set aside.
In a large bowl, mix the flours, sugar, and salt until well combined. If you have a large food processor, you can mix in that, then add the butter in chunks, pulsing until the butter bits are ~1cm cubes. If, like me, you like to do things by hand, chop up the butter into 1 cm bits, and gently mix them into the flour mixture with a big fork. Either way, the key is to not over-process the mixture.
Grab a spatula, and now pour/scrape the milky mixture into the large bowl with your flours and butter. Gently mix everything together, trying to keep the butter from getting squished into smaller pieces. Once everything is roughly combined, move the dough to a work surface and lightly knead this into a ball. Put the ball back in the bowl, cover it with cling wrap, and stick it in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
If you’re following my method of baking, go get dinner and a whiskey with your friends at the place down the street.
Once you’re fed, and your dough is good and rested, flour your work surface, and place your dough on it. Roll it out into a rough rectangle, about 10×20 inches. Fold it up in thirds, like a letter, and rotate it 90 degrees. Roll it out again, fold it again, rotate it again. Do this a total of 4 times. When you’re done, wrap your folded slab of dough in cling wrap, put it in the fridge, and get some sleep.
Good morning! Time to make the fonuts!
Pull the dough out of the fridge, and roll it out into a rectangle that’s about 1 cm thick. Cut out the doughnut shapes and set them aside on a lightly floured surface. You can put the leftover bits of dough together and re-roll them out to make as many doughnuts as possible!
While those are set aside to proof, make the sugaring, the filling, and the glaze.
To make the sugaring: Rub the lemon zest and sugar together in a bowl and set it aside. Easy.
To make the filling: In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks, flour, and sugar together, and set aside. Warm the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Slice the vanilla pod down the middle, then scrape out the beans into the milk. Toss the pod in too, and bring it to a boil. Once it’s boiling, pour it over the egg mixture, whisk it together to combine, and pour it back into the saucepan. Warm it up, whisking constantly, until the whole mixture is a thick custard. Pour it back into the bowl, cover it with cling wrap, and put the bowl in the fridge.
To make the glaze: Squeeze the lemon juice into bowl, and add powdered sugar, whisking after each addition, until the glaze is the thickness you want. I think I used about 1 cup, but you might want more.
Now, get ready to fry. Fill a large saucepan with the oil and warm it over medium heat. Once the oil gets up to 350F, fry the fonuts a few at a time, 2 minutes on each side. They should be a beautiful golden brown. Use a slotted spoon to pull each fonut out, and place them on a wire rack with parchment paper on top.
When each is warm enough to touch, roll it around in the lemon sugaring and set it aside to cool. Fill your pointy-tipped piping bag with the custard. Take each cooled fonut, and poke into the side to squeeze in the filling. I made 3-4 holes in each one and was conservative in my first go-round – fill them until you feel them bulge! I also made a little 3-dot decoration of cream on the top of each fonut, for fun.
Lastly, take a pastry brush and brush the glaze over the tops of the donuts. The tartness of the lemon is really a surprising, delicious counter to the sweetness of the fonut and the vanilla filling.
Enjoy! And if anything is unclear along the way, you know where to find me.