American ‘cronut’ pastry treat lands in Edinburgh

Customer Becky Anderson tucks into a V-Nut. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Customer Becky Anderson tucks into a V-Nut. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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The V-Nut, a Scottish version of Manhattan’s highly sought-after deep-fried pastry, has been launched in Edinburgh and could even grow to rival Krispy Kreme.

It’s the deep-fried pastry that has taken America by storm, with New Yorkers queueing up to five hours before the bakery’s opening time to grab one of the sought after buns.

And with the treats being sold on the Internet for more than eight times their $5 (just over £3) face value, the Cronut - a cross between a croissant and a doughnut - is the biggest fast food phenomenon across the Atlantic since Krispy Kreme.

And at 400 calories a time some would say it was only a matter of time before sweet-toothed Scots embraced the phenomenon.

Now the cronut, invented by an artisan baker in Manhattan, is arriving on Edinburgh’s shores with top pastry chefs at The Vintage concocting their own version.

The Scottish version is being called the “V-Nut” after its distinctive shape and to avoid potential copyright issues with the cronut’s American creators. Its debut has seen snaking queues outside the restaurant in Henderson Street, Leith, with scores of foodies hoping to get 
their first taste of the New York sensation.

After selling out of the first batch within two hours, restaurant boss Richard McLelland believes he’s hit upon a lucrative sideline that could rival the success of Hermiston Gait doughnut mecca Krispy Kreme.

And the 36-year-old from Glasgow has not shied away from gently mocking his more established competition.

He said: “Krispy Kreme are the Bud Lite of the 
pastry world and we are the craft brewing side of it.

“This is our interpretation of the cronut and I’m not frightened of winding-up Krispy Kreme about that because we are the artisan alternative to them.”

“We sold out of 45 in no time at all but we wouldn’t be doing it if it wasn’t going to be a taste sensation.”

The restaurant owner’s set his chefs to work developing a copycat Cronut after stumbling upon an article in the New York Times.

Days later they had perfected the tasty pastry, offering a dark chocolate or vanilla cream option.

“We put them on the menu for Sunday brunch and we had people queuing out the door for them. Every single person that came in asked for one over the Sunday roast.

“I wasn’t that surprised by the interest because I had seen the evidence from the United States where there was a run on the product.

“There is such a foody culture now and when you have something new that people haven’t tried before everyone wants to have it.

“They want to be able to talk about it, saying they were one of the first to taste it.

.”

The original Cronut was developed by New York chef Dominique Ansel earlier this year and had 30-strong queues camp for up to five hours outside her premises to see what all the fuss was about.

On classified ads website Craigslist, bids were peaking at eight times the original value, with customers now being rationed to just two buns each per day.

Ansel has applied for copyright of the Cronut term, but that did not stop dozens of other Manhattan restaurants serving up their own versions.

Nutritional experts are warning though that the 400-calorie bun is definitely not a daily treat.

Roisin Cooke, nutritional therapist at the Edinburgh Centre of Nutrition & Therapy, said: “Of course, it’s all about having a balanced diet and people still need to enjoy these types of things but it really should be an absolute exception.

“There is lots of saturated fat, sugar, salt and it really isn’t something you should be eating every day.”

Legend has it that croissants were created by pastry chefs in Budapest in 1686 to celebrate the defeat of the Turks. The buttery crescent-shaped roll was fashioned after the symbol on the Ottoman flag.

‘A deep-fried delight’

David McCann gives his verdict on the taste of the V-Nut: “This explodes in a cascade of zingy-flavours, buttery textures and doughy goodness from the very first bite. The deep-fried delight is crammed full of tangy vanilla and lemon filling which oozes out of the flakey innards and complements the sugary icing on top.

“It is unique, but at £4.50, it is also expensive, and as well as the cost to your wallet it will hit your waistband.”