Dominique Ansel grabbed the nation’s attention last year with his creation of the Cronut, the croissant-doughnut hybrid that resulted in around-the-block lines at his bakery in New York’s Soho. His new cookbook, Dominique Ansel: The Secret Recipes (Simon & Schuster), proves his work is about more than the Cronut craze. It traces the inspiration of a chef whose creative process is rooted in a deep philosophy of good food, and whose classical training also reflects a generous sprinkling of risk-taking and innovation.
In this conversation with Todd Kliman, dining editor of Washingtonian magazine, Ansel shares the secrets to transforming humble ingredients—flour, butter, and sugar—into the most tempting and satisfying pastries imaginable. He also reveals the personal stories behind his creations, from mini-madeleines and macaroons to rum-glazed canneles and his personal favorite, the DKA (Dominique’s Kouign Amann). And yes, there is indeed a Cronut recipe in the book.
Following the conversation, enjoy samples of “breakfast for dessert” with Chef Ansel’s Christmas Morning Cereal, a delicious concoction of clusters of puffed rice covered in Valrhona Caramelia chocolate with smoked cinnamon mini-meringue kisses and spiced hazelnuts. Local pastry stars Tiffany MacIsaac (formerly of the Neighborhood Restaurant Group), Susan Limb (Praline Bakery in Bethesda), Santosh Tiptur (of D.C.’s Co Co. Sala), and Caitlin Dysart (2941 Restaurant in Falls Church) join in the fun and share their own takes on breakfast for dessert. Or should that be “dessert for breakfast”? You’ll have to taste to decide.
Ansel’s book is available for signing.
Hear Dominique Ansel on the creation of the Cronut, and take a look at his picture-perfect pastries as he tells the stories behind nine of his inventive favorites.