Vive le Crube – The Newest Croissant Frankenpastry from Cincinnati’s Sebastian Bakehouse

A tempting tray of Sebastian Bakehouse’s new Pumpkin Spice Latte Crube.

Today we have a family of pastry portmanteaus of the croissant family.   There’s the  Cronut,  Crookie,  Cretzel , Cragel   (what about the Croalie),   Cruffin  Croclair, and even Crossushi.     Many mock them as Frankenpastries, bringing up the culinaty version of Mary Shelley’s theme of unholy unions.   Are there lines not to be crossed in pastry?   Can you not make anything into a donut, a muffin, a bagel, or put lye on the outside of a croissant shaped like a pretzel?    Well, in the world of food fusion, I say the sky is the limit, as long as ingredient quality isn’t compromised. 

This means please only use French butter, which has a higher percentage of fat than our boring commercial American butter and a prominent tang from the cultured cream.

This most recent Frankenpastry craze was created in 2013 by Soho pastry chef Dominique Ansel.   His Cult of the Cronut created queues lining up before dawn to get some of his limited runs of the pastry, and some reselling them for $100.     And, although the doughs are a bit different, the Cronut was really like a kissing cousin to the centuries old French Cruller Donut, which I like better.    My grandfather and his donut dynamos made them lightly vanilla iced for 40 years, so maybe I’m a bit biased.

Dominique Ansel, creator of the Cronut

Ansel wasn’t the first in recorded pastry history to fuse the croissant.   Germans during their Napoleonic occupancy saw the croissants the cooks were making for the French soldiers and mixed it with their own pastry doughs to create the Franzbrotchen – a distant cousin of our buttery Schnecken – a snailed, cinnamon-sugar pastry loaf brought to Cincinnati by Virginia Bakery in Clifton.

Randy Sebastian, co-owner of Sebastian Bakehouse, at work in his Pastry Atelier.

But at the beginning of Semptember, our local Croissant , Sebastian Bakehouse, now in Mariemont, brought us the newest Frankenpastry something they call the Crube.   This first example of the new croissant fusion is a tall 193 LAYERS of their 72-hour butter croissant with a duo core of pumpkin spice latte creme patisserie and white chocolate salted caramel. It’s topped with a caramel chocolate drizzle, a torched cinnamon marshmallow, and a hipper-than-you pipette of caramel sauce.    I liken it to the croissant version of the lava cake or the Tsunami cake, both of which ooze a hidden interior crème when cut into.   Sebastian’s is closed this weekend, so the new Crube will only be available next weekend, which happens to fall on my birthday weekend.   So this may be my birthday cake this year.

A cross section shot of Sebastian’s Crube.

And don’t confuse the Crube with Sebastian’s earlier Frankenpastry canvas, the croissant-danish, with flavors like the Elote (Mexican street corn) garnished with a spicy Taqui (brilliant).   There is a subtle yet distinct line between a croissant or puff pastry and Danish pastry. Many regard both as the same thing, but in fact a Danish is a variant of the puff pastry. A Danish is leavened with yeast, as opposed to puff pastry that is raised by steam. Danish pastry also contains sugar, hence with a composition of sugar and yeast, the high sugar content in the dough makes a Danish better catered to sweet creations, Quite distinctive from puff pastry which is lighter and flakier in texture, a Danish, which also contains egg in its batter, is denser, fluffier and more bread-like, having a texture that is in between a croissant and a brioche.

Sebastian’s Elote Croissant Danish.

I think this Crube has a tremendous amount of potential, and I look forward to what other Crube flavors Sebastian’s rolls out.   I’m up for a savory seafood Crube – filled with lobster bisque crème patisserie, and topped with lobster bits and maybe some super thin crispy potato crisps

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