New Yorkers have been going crazy for them for months — standing in lines around the block to get them or snapping them up for $50 on Craigslist — but Southern Californians finally have their own chance to get a taste of the elusive cronut.
The trend began in May at a New York bakery owned by Dominique Ansel, who smartly trademarked the name of his cream-filled, flaky, glazed croissant-doughnut hybrid. Since then, more than two dozen local bake shops have introduced their own version of the latest culinary fad.
“It’s always interesting to kind of figure out what the next trend is going to be,” said Chanel Martinez, lead chef instructor at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Pasadena, where teachers and students have made their own version. “I really didn’t see this one coming, and I don’t know why no one has ever done it before. I think it’s an innovative idea.”
It was an idea that presented a perfect opportunity for Cindy Seam, whose family owns and operates Spudnuts Donuts in Canoga Park and Newbury Park.
Their version is the “doughssant,” a doughnut-shaped delicacy made of layers of buttery croissant dough fried to perfection. Sliced in half, each pastry is filled with whipped custard and a variety of garnishes — fresh strawberries, banana cream, Nutella, peach, lemon glaze and even maple bacon.
“Our customers went crazy for them,” Seam said Monday as she worked side by side with her sister, Amanda, making up trays of berry- and banana-centered doughssants. “When we first starting making them, we had a whole wall of orders to make up — what an adrenaline rush.
“Now people know that we put them out at 8 o’clock, and they sell really fast. People who come in the afternoon hoping to get one are very sad.”
Prices for the pastries start at $2.50 each for plain glazed to $4 for berry filled.
Seam said the Canoga Spudnuts shop, at Topanga Canyon and Roscoe boulevards, introduced the doughssants in June and now sells about 100 each weekday, with at least twice that number being gobbled up on Saturday and Sunday.
But over at her mom’s Spudnuts, at 3303 Kimber Drive in Newbury Park, they sell half as many. “They’re not as into them up there. Maybe they’re more health conscious,” said Seam of the confections, which she admits have “a gazillion calories” each.
Anthony Valerio and Vandy Altounian, an aunt and nephew pair who boast two victories on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” opened Confexion Cupcakes & Cake in Pasadena in 2012 to break into the doughnut world.
Their version — the “brioughnut” — is made with brioche dough. Flavors include salted caramel, s’mores, lemon meringue and Nutella crunch.
Valerio said he wanted to take the idea of the cronut and put his own spin on it. He said he’s always loved doughnuts but never liked croissants, hence his choice of the sweeter, richer brioche dough. They started selling the brioughnut at the end of July.
“It elevates the doughnut. We can put an artisan spin on it,” Valerio said. “I think it’s an exciting time for dessert right now.”
But for Kirk Rossberg, who owns Torrance Bakery in downtown Torrance and Gardena, the only thing that’s new about the cronut is the name and the shape. Rossberg said he’s been making a fried croissant for years. He said he changed the shape after the Cronut craze began, and sales went up.
“It’s funny, we only sold, like, 15 a day when we had the fried croissant, and now we are selling 250,” Rossberg said. “It’s all a matter of public perception.”
As the trend continues to ignite sweets-loving Southlanders, more bakeries are considering ways to get a piece of the action.
Sumi Chang, owner of the well-known Pasadena bakery Euro Pane, said she’s been itching to try the famous treat. Though she hasn’t tried to concoct her own version of the cronut just yet, customers have asked.
“It’s a big phase,” she said. “The same thing happened last year when a San Francisco bakery made Kouign-Amann (a crusty Breton cake from bread dough), and we make that now. Now some bakery’s made a cronut. I should try it. I’m very curious as a baker.”