A few weeks ago, a friend posted an event on MEETin to find out what all the fuss was about. We sampled the treats from three different shops around Montreal. Unlike our In Search of the Best events, we were not able to determine which one we liked best. Each interpretation of the cronut was very different, so which one was best depended on personal preference.
La Cornetteria (6528 St. Laurent)
This charming pastry shop in Little Italy put an Italian spin on the cronut with a choice of vanilla custard or ricotta filling. Thinking the ricotta might be a little rich, we chose the vanilla. The pastry turned out to be very light, along with the vanilla custard, with the sugar coating providing most of the sweetness. The host of our group compared it to a churro, but the pastry was more layered, out of respect to the croissant part of the cronut. To me, it was an Italian pastry - a sweet little treat to be enjoyed with a shot of espresso. Since the vanilla version was so light and tasty, I bought a ricotta one to bring home to my husband, which was just as light and not as sweet as the vanilla.
Les 3M Pâtisserie (1459 Mont-Royal Est)
Next was Le 3M Pâtisserie in the Plateau. These were cronuts from the French point of view. While we were tempted to try the caramel, we stuck with the vanilla to make the comparison easier. At first bite, it was clear the croissant part of the cronut was the focus. The pastry was layered like a buttery croissant, but the outside was fried instead of baked with the vanilla frosting providing most of the sweetness. The pastry was a little on the greasy side, but overall a tasty cronut.
Simplement D'Liche (3964A St. Denis)
Only made on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, these cronuts were not part of the MEETin tasting event. However, since these were the first cronuts I had ever tasted, I had to include them in this comparison. I first tried one of D'Liche's vanilla cronuts during the In Search of Montreal's Best Lemonade event last summer. As I expected from a pastry invented in New York City, it was big, rich and decadent, channelling both the croissant and the donut.
To be sure I was up-to-date on the D'Liche cronut, I bought one shortly after the MEETin event. I was delighted to discover their recipe got better since the summer! Still maintaining its New York inspiration, it was still the largest and most decadent of the three, but the ratio of pastry to filling to frosting was more balanced so every bite had the right amount of crunch (pastry), creaminess (filling) and sweetness (frosting).
With Italian, French, or New York interpretations, each of the cronuts were too different to decide which one was the best. Which ever one you choose, it is a decadent treat which should be enjoyed with a good coffee or tea and conversation with friends.