LIFE

From the bougatsan to the cronut, hybrid pastries are the word

By Lina Giannarou

Cronut lovers will be pleased to know that the delicious pastry has now reached Greek shores. Others may ask: What exactly is a cronut? Last May in New York, chef Dominique Ansel mixed a dough similar to that used for croissants, fried it, rolled it in sugar, filled it with cream, glazed it and, lo and behold, the cronut was born. Such was the success of the new creation that Time magazine included the cronut in its top 25 inventions for 2013.

At the beginning, cronuts were only available at Ansel’s Soho bakery, with the pastry chef producing about 350 pieces daily, which were then sold at 5 dollars each. Soon the queues for cronuts were huge, while their price on the black market soared – a single cronut could fetch up to 100 dollars. “I felt as if I had created the first smart phone,” Ansel said at the time.

Local firm Focaccino recently announced that it had brought the popular patented pastry to Greece, taking advantage of the international food trend for combining successful recipes to create delicious new ones.

Greeks, however, had already cottoned on to this hybrid food thing. In February last year, Thessaloniki chef and blogger Dimitris Koparanis had combined the recipes for bougatsa (a phyllo pastry pie that comes with a variety of fillings, the most popular of which is semolina custard) and croissants to create the “bougatsan” – a croissant filled with semolina custard and coated with sugar and cinnamon, which quickly went viral. The bougatsan is for now exclusively available at the northern port city’s Estella coffee shop. “The idea behind the new food trend is combining recipes without changing their basic ingredients. I predict that this trend will keep growing,” said Koparanis. “A new pastry quickly becomes popular if it has a pleasant and addictive taste and if it is created with a certain sense of humor. For example, the bougatsan is equally influenced by Paris and Thessaloniki. This is my way of poking fun at Greek megalomania.”

But the new trend is not limited to sweet foods. In New York, chef Keizo Shimamoto created a new trend in street food: the ramen burger. In an attempt to combine his two national identities, Shimamoto created burger “buns” with a mixture of ramen and eggs, which were then served with an Asian seasoned burger. He added a fried egg on top for extra deliciousness.

In Japan, the Pizza Little Party chain serves the Megaburgerpizza, which is an XL ode to guilty pleasure: grilled hamburger patties sandwiched between two pizzas. Meanwhile, the “duffin,” a combination of a muffin and a donut injected with raspberry jam, was born in London. In fact, Bea Vo and Starbuckswent to court over the ownership of the duffin, a dispute defined in online debates as #duffingate.

Social media are crucial when it comes to the success of a new recipe. “All the popular hybrids owe their fame to a picture on Instagram,” said Koparanis.

Of course, no hybrid will ever be successful if it doesn’t taste as amazing as it looks. But generally, online discussions are more efficient than an advertising campaign, especially if they lead to an idea going viral.

In the meantime, Koparanis’s next goal is to create the ice-cream version of the bougatsan, which, instead of cream, will be filled with ice cream, Madagascar vanilla and cinnamon.

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