Tag Archives: Doughnut

Cronuts are yesterday: Today is Italian Nonuts

We put in long hours in the test kitchen in search of Doussaint artistry this week. Yes, yes, in case you noticed, we are no longer trademark infringing on the C-word trademarked by the genius from New York. We’ve seen the light. His mastery is to be commended and we’d dare not infringe (nod to lawyers… ok? great. Whew…) Besides, now we are a big BELIEVER in trademarks, as you will soon see.

Our goal was not to re-invent or improve the doussant/C-word thing. Just by reading up on it and watching the video of preparation, we set out with two goals. First to emulate its quality and artistry, and second to twist it some way in flavor or presentation to make it our own, which is why the Test Kitchen exists frankly. It’s the journey, man. It’s the journey.

This journey started off pretty decent after our dough went off to “have a sleep.”

Cronuts6

The dough woke up rested and ready.

Next we plotted our plan. First we’d emulate the actual doussant/ C-word as best we could. Then not liking the idea of wasting the doughnut hole, we went with the traditional jelly doughnut shape. Next, getting a bit more expansive in our confidence and creativity we busted out the old ravioli cutter. Excitement filled the air, and our phone lines filled with energy to our lawyers.

“What’s involved with a trademark?” we asked.

In typical hoof to head fashion we used every last bit of the dough including the final scraps which we tossed into the oil to make sure the temp was right and enjoyed a tasty friend dough treat when finished.

Finally, we came up with what a truly American version of this french-inspired idea. We cut the shapes into teddy bears for….

TEDDY BEAR CLAW CROISONUTS(TM)!*

Cronuts 4

Now pumped about this whole trademark thing, we doubled-back, thought of our dear Nonie Mary who inspires our kitchen to this day and named our ravioli version….

Italians Nonuts (TM)!*

This made great sense because at the core of this whole endeavor is fried bread. That’s really what all this fuss is about. This is wonderfully layered bread, delicately fried and topped and filled and brushed with all kinds of sweetness and light. But its’s still fried bread and we’ve been doing this for decades. Nonie taught me how to make fried bread when I was little. Now, she’s trademarked forever and ever Amen!

Who would have thought this trademark thing would be such a blast?!

For the Nonuts(TM), the only filling that made any sense was a decadent custard filling.

Cronuts3

This custard just danced to life.

We finished frying the bread, and the real work set in: trying to pump these things full of creams and top them with icing.

Each needed its own flavor and twist. Here’s the final product:

Cronuts2

Clockwise starting with the classic C-word/Doussant topped in pink icing is a Meyer Lemon Cronu..err. Doussant. Next is a custard Croissonut topped with dark chocolate. Then a Teddy Bear Claw Croissonut(TM) with cinnamon cream filling. Bottom center is an Italian Custard Nonut(TM) and, finally, another Teddy Bear Claw Croissonut (TM) with happy-face frosting.

And on the seventh day, Effin Artist rested.

Effin Artist’s bride, however did not:

cronut1

Can’t say I clean as well I create. Oh well, I can’t be everything. Remember, I told my bride, “it’s the journey, man.. it’s the journey.”

*Trademarked name, patent pending… do not use without permission — we prefer small bills — or we will sue you for everything you got!
Advertisements

WeBromance- Breaking my own rules for Sorted

I’ve written before how I try to avoid the really successful foodie websites and shows. I’m not a fan of the whole cult of personality of cooking. I mean it’s food, right? It should be inclusive, not just another area where the stars burn brightest and the rest of us bow to their greatness.

BUT… there’s always a but… I found a hugely successful foodie website that is successful because its awesome. If you want to see how to make a thing good, watch this. The food is great. The videos are excellently produced and well, they crack me up. Seriously, food is fun and this site makes it fun.

What is it about an English accent that’s so funny? God I wish I knew. I wish I could get away with faking one so people would think I’m funny. A swarthy Italian with a British accent? Crikey that’s funny!

Anyway, I stumbled on to these when I steered the Test Kitchen toward Cronuts. When they talk about the “pansy” rabbit about to get skinned, I nearly wet myself.

They just seem like guys who back in my drinking days would be fun to hang out with. I realize that’s idealistic. They will probably sue me once this posts because of some copyright law and I’ll think they’re a bunch of A-holes. But for now, the WeBromance continues.

Enjoy.

Also, the Test Kitchen finished phase one of Cronuts. The dough looks like its supposed to as its “gone off to have a sleep.” We’ll see what the next step brings.

News From The Test Kitchen: Cronuts

The other day I was minding my own business, considering my Test Kitchen ideas. I wondered if those on my Hotel California Email about the Test Kitchen were now getting politely annoyed and were about to have one of those things when I show up and everyone is sitting around staring at me awkwardly when someone says “we need to talk.” You know, one of those kind of things. Ugh.

But to my surprise, an unlikely participant on the Email chain– my son’s wife-to-be who is just too nice to tell me to bang off, but doesn’t respond much to the banter — chimed in with an idea for the next Test Kitchen.

“Cronuts. Google it. Embrace it,” she wrote.

I had no friggin idea what it was. I figured it was like the Acai berry or some such thing that mucky mucks were now making. I wasn’t that interested. But I love soon-to-be-daughter-in-law so I did as she asked and Googled it, while the email chain went its merry way without me.

Shocker alert: The Cronut is without a doubt the very best idea that has surfaced in the test kitchen since Italian Wool Shearing, and that doesn’t really count because it was not.. I swear it… NOT conducted in the kitchen.

At first I hated the idea because of this guy:

http://dominiqueansel.com/cronut-101/

What a freakin snob this guy is. $5 bucks and a waiting list. Trademarked the name, gets all in a hubabaloo over others making it and rumor has it is vying for a new show called “Cronut Nazi” starring Jerry Seinfeld (ok, I’ll confess, I made that last one up).

I thought no way. EFFin Artist don’t do elitist bullslather. (Note to self, add that to the list: Effin Artist don’t do list: Selfies, ESP, and Elitist Bullslather… to be cont., because Effin Artist does do LISTS… We love love lists– read about them in fact in about oh…22 hours at effinartists.com. Commercial now over!).

ANYWAY, I was about to reject the idea out of hand UNTIL… I thought about the neanderthal ideas from the male readership of this email chain to the idea of Cronuts.

For those not on the email chain, let me derisively fill you in on this memorable input:

“I’m thinking that it is New Years and time for thinking healthy. Instead of the Cronut, how about quinoa!”

“Oohh the cronut sounds amazing but so does quinoa and since I gained 900lbs over the 2 holidays maybe you should stuff the cronut with quinoa so I dont feel guilty for eating it.”

“Now that is the originality worthy of an EFFin artist. Bravo.”

Quinoa and a Cronut? Bravo??? Seriously?!?! Guys… go back to the link above, read it, consider the absurdity of that idea and go lie down. For shame! It’s safe to say I know two people who WON’T be winning this week’s sweepstakes package. I mean, quinoa has all the artistry of a Beanie Baby. Just because people get all trendy with it doesn’t make it neato. It’s rice man. Really, that’s about it. Rice. Or Risotto for bad cooks. Sigh.. I can’t believe I’m explaining this. I must move on. It’s as arty as selfies when you get right down to it. (Add to the list: Quinoa)

AND that’s when I opened to the idea because once I delved a bit further, I realized EVERYONE is going to want to win this week’s sweepstakes because these things are — holy CRONUTS batman — incredible looking. I haven’t tasted them, but what’s not to love… a doughnut, a croissant, sugar, cream, frosting all gently elevating with yeast-like perfection together. Amazeballs!

cronuts

SO I’m in. Let the research begin. The Test Kitchen is going to make Cronuts.

This led me to my new favorite WEBromance, a perfect cooking show type website minus all the snooty tooty rich and phooey. It’s called Sorted. And if you still don’t know what a Cronut is you have to watch this video right here:

Folks, lets face it… you already know the answer to that question you are thinking… yes… this will be on the test. And if you have ANY hope of winning the sweepstakes package of the week, you will, YOU WILL have to pass the test. Should I pause here whilst you all double back and watch my new favorite webromance video???

I thought so. go ahead. I’ll wait…………..

Send me your favorite line from the video for extra credit. Mine was… no cheating, you tell me first…. Done yet?…. (fingers drumming…)

DIGRESSION: EFFin Artist isn’t surprised much. The time my nephew jumped in with the Jailhouse Ramen Sandwich in his dorm room maybe. My sister-in-law the Long Island Medium… that was cool. But as I waited for you all to go back and watch that truly wonderful video, I was SHOCKED when a new email arrived from said sister-in-law. And guess what she said:

“However, I … have gained the requisite 900 lbs. over the holidays, so, since I still consider this time zone to be the holidays, I say Cronut first then quinoa. Or, how about a quinoa Cronut!  Now, that would’ve something!!!!!”

(Effin Artist shakes his head… )

No dear… it wouldn’t be something. Stop with all the exclamation points. This dumb idea would be Lobster Tail drenched in Hotdog Chili Mac. You need to go sit over there with the boys this time dear and next time, THINK… think before you email. Once its out there, you can’t take it back. The gun can’t be unfired, the bell can’t be unrung, the lipstick can’t be wiped off the pig.

Sigh. She was my star student, or at least I thought. She’s an artist no less…a  REAL one, not an imposter like me. I .,.. i… I just sometimes wonder why I bother…

My dear daughter-in-law-to-be who came up with this idea, you can come right up here and sit at the front of class where the sister-in-law formerly known as Artist just vacated. CONCLUDE DIGRESSION:

SO now my brain is in overload. The snooty french guy with the Cronut trademark (CRONUT. CRONUT. CRONUT. CRONUT. CRONUT.  there I said, I’m posting it, and I’m making it, so take that frenchy. Sue me!? Yeah right, get in line. Good luck with that!)… Ooops… sorry… Deep breath… As I was saying, the snooty guy (Note to self: I had a lovely French blogger drop by the other day, and she was not at all snooty. So please be nice to the French. I’d hate to piss of one of my five readers) listed all the flavors he’s made.

“There is only one flavor of Cronut every month. Here are the flavors we’ve had: May – Rose Vanilla; June – Lemon Maple; July –  Blackberry Lime; August – Coconut; September –  Fig Mascarpone; October- Apple Creme Fraiche; November – Salted Dulce de Leche; December -Valrhona Chocolate Champagne. January 2014 will feature Peanut Butter Rum Caramel.”

Salted Dulce de Leche? My god! I owe him a slow clap because I can see why folks are lined up for these. Some great creations on that list. But, me being me, I have to create my OWN version that he hasn’t done yet. That will be aces! This is no small test kitchen here. This is GIANT TEST KITCHEN! Game on! This is SURVIVOR Test Kitchen!

Step up your game folks. The Cronut Test Kitchen Starts Sunday right after the 49ers make the Packers into a snowball and splat ’em.

I will test you on everything… so if you are not still reading… right down to HERE… you can go sit with the neanderthals and the artist this week. Believe it. Don’t be voted out of the kitchen. Just… don’t.

To unsubscribe… I got nothing for you. you can deal with it. I’m just not in the mood! And remember Jimmy Dugan… there’s no crying in baseball (or Effin Artistry either).

Dough thoughts: a time to pause

I must have needed the time to think.

It was Christmas Eve, the final few moments before the family’s arrival and the previous few frenetic days of to-do lists, Christmas carols and relative quiet would explode in the bustle, noise and complicated wonderfulness of family. I looked around my kitchen and bowls of dough were everywhere. Literally, everywhere.

2013-12-25 16.30.18

I hadn’t thought about all this when I planned my Christmas menu. Now, as I looked around, I realized I’d spent hours working with dough. There were pizza doughs, and pasta doughs and doughnut doughs and bread doughs.

2013-12-16 17.14.07

Dough was rising and baking and evolving around me as I slipped away into kneading thoughts of my own. Dough is my Zen Garden. I went there without ever really knowing why, like a well-trained horse wandering back to the ranch house without the need of a pull on the reins.

I think somewhere in the back of my mind I realized that this would be my family’s first completely non-alcoholic holiday. I think it worried me, though I never connected with that until a couple of days of later. I’m sure this is why I gravitated to the dough.

Later the family arrived and we ate pizza and doughnuts and bread and all the treats I’d been busily making. We crammed into our little house and played games and likely annoyed each other but I felt … congruent. I felt like I was exactly where I needed to be. I felt OK, and I think those moments lost inside my head, my forearms flexing and straining, my grip twisting and smooshing the flexible life in my hands had a lot to do with it. Nobody seemed to care they were drinking sparkling water instead of Pinot Noir. What a gift.

My yoga teacher likes to say, “the body knows what it needs.” My doughworks were my body’s way of asking the overbearing mind to step aside and let it have it what it needed.

Jelly doughnuts a lot like fried bread

The best breakfast in the world is a simple one. You take risen bread dough (as my Grandma Deer would say, “eh… just get the frozen dough) smoosh it into little pancakes and then fry it in olive oil. Top with Ricotta Cheese and freezer jam. Perfecto! As I’ve said before, breakfast is a vital part of my day, and this breakfast is the top of the top.

It’s been my favorite since Nonie’ made it for as a kid and it’s still my kids favorite and will likely be their kids’ favorites as well when they get to the important task of providing me bambinas and bambinos like they are supposed to do.

I don’t usually mess with perfection, but I did this year. I decided to make Blueberry Jelly doughnuts. I had never done this before, and Christmas morning seems like an odd time to be experimenting, but if I could smoke a turkey for the first time on Thanksgiving, I could do this.

As it turned out, the experiment didn’t fall too far from the lab. What I ended up with was risen fried dough with jam inside instead of on top. I missed the ricotta.

They were good though. Just a lot more work.

Here’s the quick version for those wanting to try these at home:

First make your dough and let it rise:

2013-12-25 14.29.51

Then roll it out and cut a bunch of little circles into the dough:

2013-12-25 16.16.36

Put jam on half the circles:

2013-12-25 16.20.06

Paint the edges with milk, top with the other half of the dough circles, and pinch the edges tight. Then smoosh the pinches back into the dough so it looks more like a doughnut than a ravioli. It took me a while to figure this out, but toward the end they took on the right shape.

Take all the extra dough and shape it into a big fat glazed doughnut and top with fresh coconut, Effin Artist’s favorite doughnut. Think of it like a tribute. You can then mail it to me. Tribute accepted, thank you very much.

Let all this rise for another 30-45 minutes, then fry them in very hot oil. They go quick and you don’t want black, just golden brown.

Roll in super fine sugar as soon as they come out and you’re done. Serve hot or the next morning and the next morning after that.

Enjoy. But then go for a hike or a run, because these are not good for you in any way shape or form except they taste EFFin delightful.