Unlike in front of one bakery in Manhattan there are no queues at 6am nor journalists hunting for sensations here. You won’t spot these pastries sold in the black market for ten times the amount they are worth. And yet Rinkoff Bakery located in a quiet spot in East London delivers finger licking good crodough – croissant and doughnut hybrid that is the best known as cronut worldwide.
The name cronut has been trademarked by New York pastry chef Dominique Ansel, so all the other variations of it are called differently – fauxnuts, crodoughs or dossants. I haven’t had a chance to line up in front of Ansel’s bakery myself and if not Timberyard coffee shop, where I came across these pastries first, I wouldn’t have known of their existence on this side of the pond.
I was both curious and skeptical about this invention, just like about some other things originating from the States such as S’more, deep fried Oreos or Mars bars to name a few. However, as soon as my teeth sunk into layered yet moist pastry and fragrant raspberry jam oozed into my mouth, my skepticism was gone and never returned, even though I tried challenging it with other variations of crodoughs later on.
These pastries went down a treat with my coffees, but there was one problem: I like my coffees in the afternoons and by that time the pastry counter of Timberyard was cleaned off by hungry coffee drinkers. A few failed attempts to get my crodough fix resulted in doing some research and getting to the bottom of things: I found out that crodoughs come from Rinkoff Bakery in Whitechapel and arranged my trip there.
Take one wasn’t a success as it appeared Rinkoff’s don’t work on Saturdays. But determination to find London cronut helped to overcome all the obstacles. And finally I was there on a weekday, in the inner yard of multi-storey apartment buildings, facing a little shoppe with a couple of outdoor tables in the front.
I could tell it was a family business as soon as I stepped inside: a board with photographs and old newspaper cut outs and the founder Hyman Rinkoff himself in the framed logo behind the counter were telling over a 100 year old story of the bakery.
Cookies and cakes, breads and buns, slices, scones and rolls, all baked freshly and smelling divine were giving me a slight head spin and distracting from the original reason I got there for. But then I saw THEM: lined up on the top of display cabinets of all flavours and varieties – their majesty crodoughs.
The technique of producing this pastry sounds pretty simple – all you need to do is to make a croissant dough and deep fryi it in grape seed oil, but it is more fiddly than you might think. Every thin layer is laminated with butter individually and it takes up to 24 hours to produce a batch of these beauties that sparked an ongoing frenzy back in 2013.
The flavour combinations across the globe vary from simple custard to sophisticated cherry blossom ganache or blueberry lemon verbena. You can get 9 different flavours at Rinkoff’s and I was lucky to be able to choose from the full range that was available at 10am. This time my choice was Oreo Cheesecake, Peanut Butter Jelly and Lemon Drizzle. I tried Raspberry, Toffee Apple Crumble and Salted Caramel & Pistachio crodoughs before, leaving Chocolate Fudge, Custard and S’more flavours for the next time.
I was glad they survived a trip home safely packaged in the box and looked almost as pretty as in the shop. Peanut Butter Jelly crodough was a true hit from this batch and even though I was a bit surprised tasting raspberry jam instead of grape jelly that you would normally expect, the combination worked well. The aromatic raspberry jam reminded me of Raspberry crodough I had tried before, that I can nominate as the absolute winner out of six flavours I tried so far.
Oreo Cheesacake crodough came filled with cream cheese and crushed Oreo cookie mix. Being a cheese cake fan I had big expectations towards it, but after flavoursome PBJ crodough this one seemed like lacking of something. If only the filling was a bit sweeter and creamier I couldn’t wish for more.
Lemon Drizzle was quite the opposite – very sweet due to a thick layer of sugar icing on it. Grated lemon zest sprinkled on top was quite refreshing, but still left me craving for more zestiness just to balance the sweetness of the icing. It’s a shame there was no filling inside of it. I can imagine lemon curd would work really well in this combination.
For those like me, who prefer things more fruity and not too sweet, Toffee Apple Crumble would be a perfect choice. It is not so much about toffee as about plenty of tangy apple sauce inside of it, making the crodough nice and moist.
Salted Caramel & Pistachio crodough is perfect for those who like things sweet. The amount of gooey caramel filling is very generous and crushed pistachios on top make it look pretty.
Rinkoff’s crodoughs are quite big in size, so it can be a substantial meal on its own, especially those with filing, such as Oreo Cheesecake, so make sure you are hungry when picking one up. Otherwise I’d say it’s perfect to share for two to have with a cup of coffee.
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