East London Line Enlightenment


A Portal to Enlightenment?

“What the hell is a CroDough?”

I was compelled to ask this rather pertinent question one sunny afternoon while travelling from Sydenham to Shoreditch on the East London line. We were just approaching Brockley station, to be precise, when the subject came up – completely out of context.

The time and location are not in themselves as significant as the fact that I can remember exactly where I was when I first heard of CroDoughs.

They are, my two travel companions assured me, the answer to a lot of things.

Admittedly, conversation at our end of the carriage wasn’t entirely coherent. The three of us were making a return journey after an al fresco lunch at a friend’s, and we’d consumed a fair bit of bubbly on the terrace.

But the ladies did, with a bit of gentle coaxing, eventually explain to me what a CroDough is.

I’d like to say that this revelation marked a turning point in my life. But I still haven’t tried one. CroDoughs are high on my To-Do list though, because they are, I’m told, a blend of two things I already love to distraction. Yes, they’re croissant-doughnut hybrids. Call them Cronuts or Doissants if you like, but whatever label you stick on them, I’m assured they’re totally sublime.

But back on that train, I couldn’t be entirely sure the ladies weren’t making it all up. Because as we passed through Brockley station, one of them insisted that the whole district was named after vast fields of broccoli that grew there in times of yore. She giggled about this all the way to New Cross Gate, so I deduced it was, in all likelihood, the Cava talking. I decided to park the broccoli disclosure for now, but undertook to check out CroDoughs the very next day – just to establish whether they too weren’t just a figment of too much Sunday-Afternoon-Fizz.


Where’s all the broccoli?

I found convincing enough images of them (CroDoughs, that is, not vistas of broccoli that once upon a time covered the entire electoral ward of Brockley.)

CroDoughs  do look (individually) more inviting than broccoli florets, but does mating a super-deluxe doughnut with a top-notch crispy croissant really bring about a fabulous fusion of each sweet’s best genetic traits that takes the hybrid concept to a whole new level?

I’m just slightly sceptical that you can improve on the pre-existing perfection of both these timeless classics.

I was also intrigued to learn in passing (no, not through Brockley) that CroDough’s ancestor, the American Cronut, had New Yorkers going crazy for it. In 2013, NY residents were hit by actual Cronut Mania. People queued up for hours to get a taste of this crisp new creation that seemed to come straight from another dimension. There was even a Cronut Black Market, so you could bag yourself one by hook or by crook if you really couldn’t manage to get your hands on one by legitimate means…

But it was left to Cronut’s younger Cousin CroDough to hop bravely over the pond and take root here, even if this significant part of doughnut family history wasn’t brought to my attention until that fateful Sunday Afternoon, while traversing through broccoli, sorry, Brockley.

I must have been living under a rock these past few  years.

My scant and rather flaky* (*pun intended) research has also taught me that you can’t really bring out the best in a CroDough by merely slinging a bit of dough into a deep-fat-fryer. No, it’s an exacting process that could take you a couple of days. But, if you manage to get it just right, you too could produce a tall doughnut-permutation that is a portal to delicate laminated croissant-pastry layer Nirvana. If truth be told, you could probably ‘Laminate Your Way to Enlightenment’ within 72 hours via the humble yet mystical CroDough.

But, in the meantime, they’re available at select London outlets.

The ground-breaking CroDough gave *rise (again, *pun intended) to the development of the no less delicious Duffin, a sticky part doughnut, part muffin blend. And, guess what, these two pioneering pieces of patisserie appear to have spawned an ever-expanding galaxy of stellar bakes.

Now, it seems, not even the sky is your limit.

In momentarily averting our gaze from the sparkling beauty of all the Duffins and Cruffins (don’t ask), we can see clearly that the Macanut melds macaroon with doughnut, and the Muffle merges muffin and waffle, while the Crookie combines croissant with Oreo cookie.  If we’re lucky, we might just spot a Townie (tartlet-brownie).  There have even been reported sightings of cup-cake pies somewhere out there on the firmament…

This new scope of endless possibility was initially a bit much for me to get my head around, but now my brain is working overtime. How can I dream up a hybrid-bake that’s not already been thought of?


Gallaxies of stellar dough – Handle with Care

Shortbread and waffle maybe? No, there’s bound to already be a shortbread waffle somewhere on our planet. But is the alchemy that created it refined enough to render it actual Waffbread  (or should that be a Shortwaffle?)

Is it scientifically possible to cross a plain wafer with an unspectacular sponge and create something truly magical? Does Spafer or Waponge sound more appetising? (Is it worth slaving away to achieve?)

Might it not be easier to blend that same lowly sponge with an unassuming Eccles cake to bring forth a prototype Speccle? Would anyone actually fancy one? (I’m not really sure I would, to be honest.)

But however clearly I can visualise these ground-breaking Frankenstein pastries in my mind’s eye, the tricky bit will be to bring them into our world in one piece and – importantly – stick a patent on them before they’re so much as a gleam in the eye of rival bakers.

Can I quickly amass enough expertise to open my own hybrid-bake tea-room in the not-too-distant future? Do I have enough capital to start this business up? Would I be able to afford any staff?

I’m beginning to get a little bit worried about my future. Could I (eventually) make a good enough living from all of this to survive, or would I face endless court-cases courtesy of jealous competitors who swear blind they’ve seen one of these things before, or claim it was their own Nan or Auntie who first thought of them?

Hang on, am I working out a viable business plan here, or just having some protracted doughnut fantasy in a very low blood-sugar level moment?

I’m not really sure, but, before I quit the day-job, why don’t I go and bag myself a CroDough somewhere, just to see what all the fuss is about.

I’ll pass on (not through) those vast vistas of broccoli for now….


Can’t compete with a CroDough