by Luke Tsai
By now surely you’ve heard of the Cronut, New York City pastry chef Dominique Ansel’s croissant-doughnut hybrid that has, within the span of a few months, become a worldwide sensation. Fried-dough lovers continue to line up at Ansel’s eponymous Manhattan bakery at 5:30 a.m. each morning, and hundreds of copycat versions have been spawned — everywhere from Zurich to Taipei to San Francisco.
Up until this point, it hasn’t, to our knowledge, been possible to snag one of these indulgent pastries in the East Bay. Oakland restaurateur Lexi Filipello (Stag’s Lunchette, Bar Dogwood) and independent pastry chef Amie Bailey are teaming up to rectify that situation by hosting a croissant-doughnut pop-up at Stag’s Lunchette (362 17th St.) this Sunday, September 8, from 9 a.m. until the pastries sell out.
As of this posting, Bailey and Filipello are calling their version the “faux nut,” not to be confused with the unrelated pastry product sold under that name at Uptown’s Sweet Bar Bakery. (It appears a cease-and-desist letter made them reconsider their original name, “croughnut.”) For Sunday’s pop-up they’ll be selling three versions: Double G(ougin) (Tahitian vanilla bean pastry cream filling, rolled in vanilla-scented sugar), Creamsicle (clementine pastry cream, rolled in vanilla-scented sugar), and Red Hot (bourbon pastry cream, rolled in smoked chili sugar).
A Cronut by any other name might be just as sweet, but at $6 a pop (Ansel’s originals retail for $5) these aren’t an inexpensive indulgence. That said, What the Fork had a chance to sample a few of the vanilla cream variety yesterday, and we liked them well enough. Each one was handmade, so no two were exactly the same in size and shape, but in general they were surprisingly large, puffed-up things — tall enough to cut into a kind of triple-decker sandwich, with a slather of cream between each layer.