TV Dinner {The Mindy Project}

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Here’s another episode of my TV Dinner series. This one is dedicated to one of my ultimate feel-good shows The Mindy Project. It’s snarky, it’s sparkly and super fabulous. I’m a devoted fan of Mindy Kaling (read her book if you haven’t already) and the other actors in the cast, especially Chris Messina and Ike Barinholtz make the show what it is.

I love that Mindy is a strong woman who’s not afraid of coming across as aggressive or superficial or incredibly smart. She’s also a woman who’s not shy about eating.

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Mindy Lahiri is a 30-something year old doctor in NYC who’s just livin’ life and lovin’ it. Wow that sounds really cheesy. But that’s kinda how it is in the most wonderful way. Cheesy… just how Mindy likes her pizza.

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Like any functioning human, Mindy also loves her fried food.

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But like all of us, sometimes Mindy’s just having a really bad day and wants something that’s going to make her feel special and cared for. Something glazed and preferably with sprinkles.

anigif_enhanced-18758-1411541184-8Donut you say? Better yet I’ll make you a CRONUT. A pink cronut!

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Yes indeed, I’ve hopped on the cronut bandwagon. Cronuts are the famous croissant-doughnut hybrid aka the Brangelina of desserts which caused a serious craze last year. Although I live in NYC, I’ve never actually had a real cronut from the famous Dominique Ansel bakery. Honestly I’ve felt like they’re probably overhyped and not worth the wait, BUT I do love a baking challenge and OH BOY is this one a doozy.

Fair warning: these cronuts are very VERY time consuming and tedious. This is not to discourage you. The results are supremely delicious and now I’m looking forward to sampling the real thing. But still, it’s not a recipe that should be taken light-heartedly. The recipe from Dominque Ansel takes three days, which I condensed to two because I don’t have that kind of time. Actually I do. But I’d much rather spend it watching reruns of The Mindy Project eating spicy Cheetos.

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The most time-consuming aspect of this recipe is making the cronut dough which involves a process called lamination. This is what makes the flaky, thin layers in pastries such as croissants or in this case, cronuts. Layer after layer of dough alternated with butter. When the dough hits heat, the butter melts and water from the butter escapes through steam, leaving those lovely layers. It’s fantastic but requires a lot of rolling, folding, resting. Rinse and repeat. The effects are very satisfying though.

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Once you get that cronut dough laminated and cut out, they’re ready to fry. And once you’ve done that… CONGRATS! Now all you have to do is make the filling, pipe the filling into the cronuts, coat the edges in sugar, then glaze and decorate. Don’t give up! Mindy’s counting on you.

To give these babies a holiday spin, I made a quick cranberry jam that I used for the filling and part of the glaze. The actual cronuts from Dominique Ansel are filled with vanilla pastry cream but I wanted something a little less rich and heavy (because I’m a dainty woman!). The cranberry tang also gives it that perfect zing. Also it makes the glaze pink.

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Don’t these look amazing, sparking in their coating of tiny diamonds/sugar?! You could also make these unfilled, coated in cinnamon sugar and just call it a day but why do that when you can have…

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THESE GORGEOUS PRECIOUS GEMS OF DESSERTS. Look at those layers! Look at that ruby red filling! That perfectly pink glaze and that crunchy sugar coating. Cranberry cronuts. Do your happy dance, you deserve it!

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Cranberry Sour Cream Cronuts
adapted from Dominique Ansel
makes about 1 dozen cronuts

for cronut dough:

  • 1 cup + 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 ½ teaspoons dry yeast (about 2 packets)
  • 3 ¾ cups bread flour, plus more as needed for dusting
  • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter (84% butterfat), softened
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Nonstick cooking spray as needed
  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

for assembly:

  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup Quick Cranberry Jam (recipe below)
  • 1 recipe Cranberry Sour Cream Glaze (recipe below)
  • dried cranberries, for garnish

Day ahead:

1.     In a microwaveable bowl or measuring cup, heat the water to 105-110°F. Stir in the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the sugar. Set aside for 10 minutes until the yeast has proofed and become bubbly. If this does not happen, stop and try again. Your water was either too hot or your yeast is expired/dead. My condolences.
2.     In the bowl of a standing mixer, combine the yeast mixture, bread flour, salt, sugar, egg white, 8 tablespoons butter, and cream. Use the dough hook attachment to mix by hand until roughly combined. Then using the machine, knead on medium speed for 3 minutes. When finished, the dough will be rough and have very little gluten development.
3.     Lightly grease a medium bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel. Proof the dough in a warm spot (I use an empty turned off oven) until doubled in size, 2 to 3 hours.
4.     Remove the plastic wrap and punch down the dough by folding the edges into the center, releasing as much of the gas as possible. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and transfer to a sheet pan. Refrigerate overnight.

Day of:

5.     Remove the dough from the refrigerator, making sure it is very cold throughout. Place the dough on a floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough to a 10 x18 inch rectangle.
6.     With the long end facing towards you, spread the 16 tablespoons of softened butter on two thirds of the rectangle. Now imagine the rectangle is divided into thirds. You will be folding it like a trifold/letter. Take the unbuttered section and cover the middle third. Then take the buttered third and fold over the middle as well. This is called a ‘turn’ and is how the cronut dough gets all those flaky layers.
7.     Chill the dough for 30 minutes, then roll out into another 10×18 rectangle for another turn. You will do a total of 5 turns. No joke. Once done, cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
8.     On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough until it is about 1/2-inch (1.3 cm) thick. Transfer the dough to a half sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour to relax.
9.     Using a 3 ½-inch (9 cm) ring cutter, cut 12 rounds. Cut out the center of each round with a 1-inch (2.5 cm) ring cutter to create the doughnut shape.
10.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and lightly dust the parchment with flour. Place the cronuts on the pan, spacing them about 3 inches (8 cm) apart. Lightly spray a piece of plastic wrap with nonstick spray and lay it on top of the pastries. Proof in a warm spot for 1 hour. (It’s best to proof At-Home Cronut pastries in a warm, humid place. But if the proofing area is too warm, the butter will melt, so do not place the pastries on top of the oven or near another direct source of heat.
11.  Heat the grapeseed oil in a large pot until it reaches 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Use a deep-frying thermometer to verify that the oil is at the right temperature. (The temperature of the oil is very important to the frying process. If it is too low, the pastries will be greasy; too high, the inside will be undercooked while the outside is burnt.) Line a platter with several layers of paper towels for draining the pastries.
12.  Gently place 3 or 4 of them at a time into the hot oil. Fry for about 90 seconds on each side, flipping once, until golden brown. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on the paper towels.
13.  Check that the oil is at the right temperature. If not, let it heat up again before frying the next batch. Continue until all of them are fried. Let cool completely before filling.
14.  To assemble, use a piping bag fit with a Bismark tip to pipe the cranberry jam into each cronut. Inject the jam through the top of the pastry in four different spots, evenly spaced. As you pip the jam, you should feel the pastry getting heavier in your hand.
15.  Coat the outside edges of each cronut in a small bowl filled with ½ cup of granulated sugar (feel free to flavor the sugar with spices or citrus zest).
16.  Cut another piping bag fit with a #803 plain tip. Fill with the cranberry sour cream glaze. Pipe a ring of glaze around the top of each cronut, making sure to cover all the holes created from the filling. Keep in mind that the glaze will continue to spread slightly as it cools.
17.  Top each cronut with a couple dried cranberries. Let the glaze set for about 15 minutes before serving. Consume within 8 hours of frying for optimal flavor.

Quick Cranberry Jam

  • 10 ounces fresh cranberries
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • peel from 1 lemon

1.     In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine cranberries and sugar. Heat over medium-high heat, stirring every few minutes, until sugar dissolves and berries release moisture, about 10 to 12 minutes.
2.     Carefully transfer cranberry mixture to a high-speed blender. Secure the lid tightly, and blend on high until berries and the skins are completely pulverized.
3.     Return mixture to the heavy-bottomed saucepan and heat over medium heat, stirring every few minutes to prevent scorching. Cook until jam thickens, coats the back of the spoon, and does not slide off the spatula or spoon when tested, about 15 to 20 minutes.
4.     Puree jam in a high speed blender until completely smooth. Pass through a fine mesh sieve so the jam is free of any chunks and seeds. Can be made a day in advance.

Cranberry Sour Cream Glaze

  • ¾ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon Quick Cranberry Jam

1.     In a small bowl, whisk together the powdered sugar, sour cream and cranberry jam until completely smooth.

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