“Meet The Cronut's Humble Offspring: The Doughscuit!” This is the headline of Ian Chillag’s latest post for NPR’s excellent food blog, The Salt. The Cronut, in case you’ve been living under a rock for the past several months, is the wildly popular croissant-doughnut hybrid invented by Dominique Ansel and imitated by countless other bakeries. The Doughscuit, in case you’re not proficient in neolexic portmanteaus, is a combination of biscuit and doughnut: a ring of biscuit dough deep-fried and glazed. Chillag encountered it at Endgrain’s booth at Chicago’s Donut Fest last weekend, and he writes that it “was transcendent, an impossible mix of doughnut-fried sweetness and crumbly biscuitness.”
Chillag is a charming writer, and the Doughscuit certainly sounds delicious. But I fear it is the harbinger of a terrible new food trend: Deep-frying various doughs, making up a dumb name for them, and proclaiming them revolutionary.
They are not revolutionary. You can deep-fry pretty much any kind of dough—and people have been deep-frying various doughs since long before the Cronut.
Yeast dough has been deep-fried to yield yeast doughnuts. Choux dough has been deep-fried to yield beignets. Cake batter has been deep-fried to yield funnel cakes. Cookie dough has been deep-fried to yield, well, deep-fried cookie dough. Pie dough has been deep-fried to yield fried pies. And these are just familiar American doughs—there are dozens more fried-dough possibilities when you expand the list to include other countries. It is fair to assume that if a dough exists, someone has already deep-fried it.
Now, this doesn’t mean Dominique Ansel didn’t happen upon a great recipe with the Cronut—it just means that he was not the first person ever to fry puff pastry. Similarly, Endgrain’s Doughscuits are hardly unique: Take a look at the comments section under Chillag’s post for examples of people who have independently decided to fry biscuit dough. (Or just look at a cake doughnut recipe—most of them are close approximations of drop biscuit dough.)
I’m not trying to rain on anybody’s parade. As far as I’m concerned, the more fried dough, the better! I’m just urging everyone to cool it with the hyperbolic proclamations about “life-changing” Cronuts and Doughscuits. There will always be new ways to combine syllables, but there are no new fried doughs under the sun.