Culinary Arts

From Dominique Ansel's MasterClass: Case Study: The Cronut®

Written by MasterClass

Apr 23, 2019 • 3 min read

Dominique takes you inside his New York bakery to share the origin story of the dessert that launched a thousand imitations – the croissant-meets-donut mashup Chef coined the Cronut® – and how you can use emotion to create your own memorable pastries.

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Preview of Case Study: The Cronut®

This is an excerpt from Dominique Ansel's MasterClass.

The idea for the Cronut was very simple. I wanted to create something new. Putting two pastries together, the croissant and the donut. So the Cronut is laminated dough that has some fermentation. So it has those beautiful flaky layers and is filled with, usually a cream and a ganache.

I took initially a few months to develop the technique and the recipes.

To make a Cronut, it's actually pretty long. It takes about three days. The first day, I will mix the dough and ferment the dough. The next day we'll incorporate the butter and do all the folds, all the layering. The third day we'll cut the Cronut, ferment it, fry it, fill it with two different fillings-- usually a cream and a jam-- and then we'll roll it in sugar. We finish it with a glaze on top. And then it's ready to be served.

When I first put the Cronut on the menu, I only had 20-25. And I still remember we were just a few of us at the bakery. It was just myself and four employees. I had two people in the kitchen and two people helping me serving the guests.

A friend and a blogger came by. And he snapped a photo of it. He asked me what it was and what I was working on. He put it on his blog and the article he posted went viral. He called me the same afternoon letting me know that he had over 140,000 link to the article and increase of traffic of 300%.

And at the time, I was really tired. I was working long hours. And I was like, you know what, I'm happy for you. Going back to work, I have a lot to do. And he was like, no, no, you don't understand. This is a big hit. It's going to be big. And you should make some more for tomorrow.

So for the next day, I made 35. And of course, we sold out within a few minutes. By the third day we had over 150 people waiting outside. People were trying to sell cookies and drinks. People were scalping a Cronut. So they were buying it and reselling it on the street. I was really taken by surprise.

And I was literally overwhelmed. I would work 20 hours a day. Everyone was asking for it. People were lining up as early as 2 o'clock in the morning, waiting outside the shop to get the Cronut. It was pure madness. The team was just freaking out. So I managed to keep everyone on board by doing speeches to my team before we open the doors. Because everyone was scared of letting so many people in.

A lot of people asked me what made the Cronut so successful. What happened? And a lot of people asked me if I had a marketing strategy, or if I had budgeted for this, a PR campaign. And of course, I had none of this. I only had four employees at the time.

It's still very difficult to explain what made the Cronut so successful. To me, I think it's a mix of a lot of different things. I think it's nostalgia. I think there's creativity. And I think it opened so many doors for other people to be creative and to start thinking of their own ideas.

Nowadays, we make as many as we can. We make a few hundred. But the most important for me is t...

Reviews for Dominique Ansel's MasterClass

I love the chef, its so passionate for what he does. love the class!!!! - Gina

Hello... I enjoyed very much Chef Dominique Ansel. He has a special charisma teaching his classes in a way there is so much fun. Without being a show off, he's professional and humble. Glad you brought him to Master Class!!! Please offer more of him. Thanks! - Erika Gonzalez

Although I was familiar with a lot of the techniques Dominique Ansel used, to actually see them performed by a master, along with his explanations, helped take my experience and understanding to a new level. - Matthew M.

Great pastry results may take several days. No end to the creative results that can be achieved. - Peter M.