Houston's version of the cronut is a much sweeter story: Retired firefighter baker not gouging customers
You could say that New York baker Dominique Ansel, the patriarch of the cronut, is an entrepreneurial genius. Through no fault of his own, Ansel has baked pastry's version of crack cocaine and fueled a foodie black market replete with scalpers on Craigslist primed to upcharge 2,000 percent for the croissant/donut deep-fried experiment known as the cronut — delivery included.
The short supply forced Ansel to impose a quota per costumer.
New Yorkers have lost their mind, paying as much as $100 for one sweet treat.
Two flavors are available: Cream cheese and strawberry cream cheese.
Peña's Donut Heaven & Grill in Shadow Creek Ranch, a master planned community in Pearland, is following suit by offering a Texas alternative that won't break the bank. At $3.50 a pop, the restaurant's stock of "dosants" — pronounced with a French air of gracious arrogance like croissant, not like docent, and not to be confused with anything resembling the Indian dosa — is flying off the shelf.
The pastry isn't easy to produce, and the 70 produced daily aren't enough to keep up with consumer demand.
Owner Raymond Peña, think of him as a long-lost cousin of Guy Fieri, knows that fried foods should belong in the south. This 20-year firefighter veteran has been in the donut biz since he was 19 years old, working alongside his mother while she owned and managed a Shipley Do-Nuts franchisee. At 54 years old, the Galveston-born gent credits his mother and father for instilling in him the importance of hard work.
"I didn't even know about what was happening with the cronut in New York until my brother-in-law told me about it," Peña tells CultureMap. "I Googled it, liked the idea and worked on my dough for a week-and-a-half to perfect it.
"I'd say it paid off."
You could say that. Besides the crazy demand, Peña's even drawing local celebrities to his shop, including University of Houston football coach Tony Levine (see the photos above this story).
Two flavors are available: Cream cheese and strawberry cream cheese. More different varieties are now in the works. But as things stand, the bakery is already hard-pressed to fulfill call-in orders by the dozen. Peña says he can increase production to 160 by the weekend, which will allow him to add two more dosant flavors to the mix.
How do banana cream and raspberry dosants sound? Divine. Heart attack-inducing divine.
Could the dosant be the nemesis of the cupcake?
If Peña conceives a savory version, it could also give the kolache a run for its money. Because anything deep-fried trumps anything baked. Even crack.