Hybrid Dessert: The Lovechild of Two Indulgent Classics
Hybrid, or fusion, dishes have been around for some time, but since the Cronut hit the streets there is a new focus on creating something new by mixing the old.
Chefs have been creating signature dishes all along, but thanks to the digital reach offered by social media, these dishes can inspire people all around the globe and often end up being blended together, whether in flavor, style or texture.
The most famous hybrid food object craze in recent years is New York baker Dominique Ansel’s Cronut, the lovechild of a classic French croissant and an American donut. Who could forget the craze it created on Twitter, Facebook, etc. once it hit town and social media channels were flooded with pictures of people standing in line for a chance to get one of the precious IT-desserts.
Partnering up with a fast food chain (which received similar social media love) and offering (the original) Cronuts on soft serve ice cream also created an even bigger internet frenzy.
So what’s (hy)breeding right now?
- The Cruffin: a cross between a croissant and a muffin. It’s shaped like a muffin with pastry layers like a croissant and stuffed with various things.
- The Croissant Pretzel: a croissant with pretzel dough and plenty of salt.
- The Wonut: a cross between a donut and a waffle covered with donut frosting and dusted with sugar.
- The Mallomac: a hybrid between a Mallomar (chocolate-covered marshmallow) and a French macaron.
- The Scuffin: it’s a scone and a muffin combined in the shape of a muffin, with the dough of a scone filled with peach conserve.
- The Waffogato: another Dominique Ansel creation, it combines waffles and affogato. The ice cream is in the mold of a waffle and is topped with warm maple syrup espresso.
- Pie Milkshake: takes two mini pies and blends them with ice cream flavors like peanut butter banana, pumpkin and eggnog mousse.
- Cereal Milk Soft Serve: Momofuku Milk Bar’s cereal milk soft serve. A combination of cereal milk (inspired by the leftover milk from a cereal bowl) and ice cream topped with cereal.
How to make a new hybrid dessert variation or flavor?The best way is to look at old traditions. Most of the hybrid desserts were inspired by childhood memories or old family traditions. One can take as an example the Russian Maslenitsa, which is a cheerful farewell to the winter season. Since ancient times spring has been seen as the beginning of new life, and in honor of the sun, people bake pancakes.
Pancakes are made of wheat, buckwheat, oat or corn flour mixed with berries, vegetables, cheese, various meats, mushrooms, cabbage and potatoes and served with jam, honey, fruit preparations, caviar, sour cream, butter, cream and various sauces and condiments. This simple tradition and all its varieties could be the inspiration for the next Cronut if someone were to simply mix the sour cream-and-jam pancake with, say, a nut-and-honey-filled Asian dumpling and create a “panling.” In every culinary tradition, there is a chance for a new hybrid signature dish or flavor. Most cupcake bakeries have been doing that with their toppings, which are mostly flavors from traditional desserts.
Why stop at food?The second (albeit less viral) hybrid from Ansel’s bakery lab was the innovative idea to cross a glass of milk and cookies. He said that the combination of milk and cookies was and is a childhood classic and that he wanted to create a fancy grown-up version without losing the memories. And voilà: The cookie shot glass was invented. The best take-away from this idea is that the imagination does not need to stop just at desserts but could actually include edible tableware, cups etc. as well.