Latest food fad squeezed from the belly of New York

29 August 2013 - 02:43 By Andrea Burgener

Andre Burgener has been immersed in all things food since she took over the making of the family's lunch box sandwiches aged eight (her mom could make a mean creme brulee and a staggering souffle, but could never butter the bread all the way to the edges.


IF YOU live in the world, you'll have heard about the Cronut, I imagine. The most recent food fad - or should that be complete hysteria - to be squeezed from the belly of New York. Yes?

On May 10 this year, Dominique Ansel, Michelin restaurant-trained, award- winning pastry chef, launched the Cronut. As the name might hint, it's a croissant doughnut hybrid. Doesn't sound that mind-blowing, right? But on that day in May, mayhem was unleashed.

Queues still regularly start up to three hours before the bakery doors open (waiting eaters can be seen at dawn, curled up in blankets on street corners like crack addicts). Cronuts immediately had to be restricted to two per customer.

Cronuts were being bought up and sold "black-market"-style for 10 times their original price, and the madness reached its peak when an advert was posted online offering generous quantities of Cronuts in exchange for sexual favours. I'm not making this up.

Of course 1 million copy-Cronuts (the name is trademarked) have reared their oily little heads all over the world.

Locally, Belle Patisserie offers what they call a Crois-nut. I couldn't resist rushing off to try them. Of course, I know it's a knock-off, and unless I buy a ticket to New York there's no telling quite how off-the-charts delicious the original is. But still, I'm hopeful. So? They're pretty good, as fried doughy things go. The photographs of Ansel's Cronut show something immensely more high-rise, more layered, more airy. But these are worth it for interest's sake. I don't know if anything can really be better than a perfect doughnut or croissant. Belle Patisserie, Blue Bird Centre, Illovo. 011-440-4474.


Chicken breast sucks. Devoid of fat and flavour, it is, strangely, the most popular part of the fowl. Here is one of the only ways you should consider eating the breasts. Yoghurt renders them succulent and tender in a way that little else can. Indeed, this is so good, it has almost converted me to a practising (though not orthodox) breast eater.

Quasi-tandoori chicken for two

1 cup yoghurt / 5ml crushed garlic / 2 teaspoons grated ginger / 1 small chilli, de-seeded, slivered / 5ml turmeric / 5ml paprika / 15ml lemon juice / ½ teaspoon salt / 1 teaspoon sugar / 500g chicken breasts, scored/slashed at intervals.

How: Mix all except chicken together. Coat chicken well and leave in fridge for 18-24 hours. Don't skimp on the marinating time. Remove meat from fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking. Drizzle oil over the meat. Cook over hot coals until just - I repeat, just - done through.

Burgener is the chef at The Leopard in Melville, Johannesburg

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