The latest addition to the “crazy food things that I make my friends do” (see: fried chicken crawl, dumpling crawl) was an idea conceived in a moment of pure fantasy that we turned into reality. A cronut extravaganza, where we taste-test a variety of the delicious baked sugary snack that Dominique Ansel first conceived which has now spread across the globe.
Four of us gathered one afternoon at my apartment with boxes of baked goodies from different bakeries around Sydney. Variety is the spice of life! With mugs of palate-cleansing green tea in hand, we settled in for three hours of cronuts, chatter and chuckling.
The first cronuts were from Bonjour Patisserie in Wahroonga – a chocolate cronut with chocolate cream, and a custard donut with vanilla icing. The pastry is excellent – sugary sweet and crispy. However, I think the chocolate cream and custard leaves a little to be desired as it tasted a little too pre-made rather than freshly made. While I’d go back for these cronuts if I was in the area, I wouldn’t make a special trip!
The second lot of cronuts were the simple cinnamon sugar cronuts from Bakerie@ in Gordon, which has been previously reviewed on this blog. They’re as delicious as always, however I do note that one of them is sadly lopsided. Quality control is clearly an issue at Bakerie@ – however, that won’t stop me from returning for further cronut hits as it’s really just up the road!
Our next cronut was from Sweet Belem in Petersham, more commonly known for their amazing “Sydney’s Best!” Portugese tarts. This was a simpler style cinnamon sugar cronut with no cream fillings, not unlike Bakerie@’s version. However, this is a far superior ‘plain’ cronut, and really leaves Bakerie@’s cronut in the dust – the cronut is taller, the pastry is crispier but more melt-in-your-mouth at the same time, and it doesn’t leave an overly oily aftertaste in your mouth either. I’ll be adding these cronuts to my Portugese tarts order the next time I’m at Sweet Belem.
By far the standout cronut of the day were the ones from the Grumpy Barista in Petersham though. It’s truly what you would call a ‘full package’ – the pastry is both soft like a donut, and crispy like a fresh croissant. The icing on top and inside is generous, and the sprinkle of chocolate crumble on the top adds some wonderful texture. It’s the plastic syringes of extra icing that make it really special though – just in case there wasn’t enough sweet stickiness in the cronut, you can DIY and add some more! I think I’ll need to try the Grumpy Barista’s cafe offerings soon, and make the excuse to have more of their cronuts too!
And just for laughs and a baseline comparison, a friend brought some croissants and some donuts…
…unfortunately K got the brief of ‘cronut’ wrong and experimented with putting a cinnamon donut inside a croissant! The effect was interesting (you’ll love it if you love doughy breads and baked goods), but nothing like an actual cronut.
And yes, I know that we missed out a few essential cronuts around Sydney – Adriano Zumbo’s zonut for one (which I’ve tried in the past) and Brewtown Newtown’s cronuts as well. Our group’s next planned food adventure is a self-guided tour of Newtown’s dessert offerings though, so no doubt Brewtown Newtown will make an appearance then!