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Cruller, Cronut or Donut. Which is it?


Cruller not Donut
Glazed Cruller Recipe

Isn't a Cruller the same as a Cronut? Nope.

Is it a donut, then? Not really.

Let me explain.


A Cruller = Pâte choux = Churros = Eclairs=Cream Puffs


Meaning? They're all the same dough/recipe, just different methods of cooking.


A traditional French (or German) Cruller is fried Pâte choux in the shape of a donut. Like a churro, from Latin America is  fried Pâte choux in the shape of a log, or a stick ( or in any shape the pastry chef wants to serve it, aka heart shape).


A Traditional Cruller is not a yeasted dough, like American style donuts. Cake donuts are also not a yeasted dough. As the name suggests these recipes are prepared much like cakes are, the only difference, or what makes it a donut is that it is fried.


Most people are familiar with Pâte Choux (pronounced "pat shoe") in the form of an eclair and a cream puff. Some will be surprised to learn that it is the same pastry dough also used to make Churros.


While "cronuts" became the newest pastry trend several years ago, they are different, still from a cruller. A cronut is literally a croissant that has been shaped into a cylinder and fried. What makes the pastry different is that croissants are made with puff pastry or Pâte Feuilletée. Hence the pastry "mille feuille"( a million layers) or as more commonly known as a Napoleon. Fun Fact: Napoleon was not derived from the French Emperor as people assume, but rather from Naples, being first called Napolitan, the city in Naples, where it was first made.


But I digress. There are many variations of Pâte Choux  recipes out there. You'll see the ratio of egg to butter to milk (and or water) differ, but only slightly.


The best part about this delicious dessert is that it has very few ingredients and is super easy to bring together. My experience is that the more eggs it calls for the "heavier" more egg-y the pastry will be. So, for a cruller, which is to be fried, I want a lighter, more airy texture to my dough. That's what you're looking for.


Here's my full proof recipe:

3 eggs

1 Egg white (that's what gives it a more airy texture, instead of the full fourth egg)

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter

1 Tbs Sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 cup Whole Milk

1/2 cup water

1 cup all purpose flour (sifted)

Good Frying Oil - like Sunflower Oil ( I don't like the aftertaste of Canola oil, but if that's what you got, go for it!)


Method

Pour liquids, salt, sugar into a small stock pot, add butter. Bring to a boil to melt butter. 

Add sifted flour all at once to the butter liquid and start to combine the flour with liquid with a wooden spoon until all is combined and the pastry leaves a slight film on the bottom of the pan. It will form into a ball and should  slightly glisten as well.

Cool for 30 minutes. Move to a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap (snuggling it against the dough) so as not to form a skin. At this point you can actually cool for 24 hours as well, if you're making this for a next day event.

Once cooled, move to a bowl for a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment, start slowly mixing the dough to loosen it up. Increasing the speed to med, begin adding 1 egg at a time. Eggs should be at room temperature (adds air to the pastry), ending with the egg white. Once all the eggs have been combined (you may have to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl in between the egg additions), add the choux to a pastry bag, fitted with a star tip. Set aside.


Prepare parchment paper:

Cut out 20 or so square (3x3) size pieces of parchment paper and lay them out on cookie trays. Using your pastry bag, now squeeze out pastry dough onto the parchment squares into circles. (Squeeze from the top down and adjust as needed).


Heat oil for Frying:

When your oil comes to temperature (it will glisten,and you can also stick the end of a wooden spoon onto the surface of the oil, if it begins to bubble around the spoon, your oil is ready to start frying!), add 2 crullers face down to your oil at a time. The parchment paper will begin to lift off the pastry and you'll be able to remove it then. 

When the cruller begins to turn golden brown, flip it to the other side. About 2-3 minutes each side. You'll notice it begins to puff up and the edges start to brown. Adjust your oil heat as necessary as to not get overheated and burn.


Lay your fried pastries on a pastry rack over a cookie sheet to cool. Once all are done and cooled you can begin to ice them.

Icing:

1 cup Powdered Sugar

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

Seed from 1 Vanilla Pod (cut open pod with very sharp knife and scrape seeds into bowl) * optional

1-2 Tbsp of milk (or as needed)

Whisk all ingredients together. The consistency should run like a ribbon when you hold it up with your whisk, not too runny, not too thick. Add the milk in stages until you get the consistency you like.

* you can also add lemon zest to the icing for a hint of lemon


Dunk your cooled Crullers into the icing one at a time - return to the pastry rack to dry. Serve immediately! Enjoy!


I hope you enjoyed this fun lesson in French Pastry and terminology. Check out my other recipes and cooking videos at www.cafeleza.com

Chef Elizabeth Mehditach of LĒZA

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