KUALA LUMPUR: You may have heard of the cronut craze over in the United States – the delicate, flaky doughnut-croissant hybrid with a variety of fillings and flavours created by pastry chef Dominique Ansel in May has seen people lining up for hours, just to try one.

The rich, sweet pastry sells out extremely quickly, with only a few hundred made every day.

There’s even a ‘black market’ of sorts for this popular pastry – resale value of the US$5 (RM16) cronut can go up to US$40 (RM130)!

It is proving so popular that even the word ‘cronut’ has been trademarked.

Malaysians who can’t afford to zip over Stateside for a cronut fix don’t have to worry – they have options here!

Pastry chef frying up some delectable KLonuts.

Mabel Cheah, a pastry chef working with pop-up dessert store Dessert Storm, has whipped up the one and only ‘KLonut’.

Named for the city they were created in, and also because they are a ‘clone’ of cronuts, Cheah was inspired by Ansel’s work and decided to make a similar dessert, one more suited to Malaysian tastes.

The original cronut from Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York, United States. – AFP

“We used puff pasty instead of croissant dough,” she told The Star Online, adding that she believed Ansel’s cronut was a “croissant-danish hybrid”.

The labour-intensive sweet treat is made of layers of Cheah’s special recipe puff dough, glazed with egg white. Deep-fried, filled with custards or jams and topped with a light icing, the KLonut is an incredibly light, not-too-sweet flavour explosion.

One of two pastry chefs with the BIG Group, Cheah enjoys experimenting with KLonut flavours and tries to match them with Dessert Storm’s monthly themes.

“This month the theme is Malaysiana, so we have a kaya jam and coconut-topped Klonut, as well as a Milo custard and condensed milk icing klonut,” she said.

Other flavours she has rolled out at Dessert Storm, which launched early July, include boysenberry jam and chocolate, lemon curd and meringue, and their signature peanut butter and caramel.

“People sometimes get angry when we change flavours!” she laughed.

Cheah readily admits the KLonut is a cronut clone.

Cheah experimented extensively on the KLonut recipe before presenting it to the public. Several prototypes were created to find the ideal height and oil temperature for optimal taste and to ensure the deep-fried snack wasn’t too greasy.

Best when freshly-fried, KLonuts stay good for three to four hours and only take five minutes to prepare.

Cheah added that part of their charm was that they could be eaten at anytime.

“People order them at lunchtime, teatime – I’ve had customers come to Dessert Storm at 10am asking for a KLonut!,” she said

These flaky, sweet, light desserts have been well-received by the public, and although Cheah makes 100 pieces every day, she often comes close to selling out.

“We’ve sold out before. Our regulars come often, and we have people taking away 15-20 KLonuts at a time – I’ve seen people eat five KLonuts in one sitting! I recently made a cronut tower for a birthday party!”

The Star Online taste-tested several KLonut flavours and were glad to find they indeed matched the hype. Flaky, delicate pastry which simultaneously crumbles and melts in your mouth, not too oily and not too sweet.

The flavour combinations are well-planned too – Milo custard and condensed milk was the clear favourite, bringing nostalgic tastes to a whole new level. A muted chocolate malt filling and creamy milky icing paired perfectly with the golden brown pastry.

Lemon curd and meringue, too, was excellent – a crunchy mini-meringue garnish tied the whole sour-sweet dessert together, while the citrusy curd cut the cloying qualities all deep-fried snacks possess.

The signature peanut butter and caramel KLonut was a little too heavy, save for perhaps the most hardened peanut butter fans, but boysenberry jam and chocolate was a treat right out of a fairytale.

It may not be New York City, but Mabel Cheah’s KLonuts bring otherwise-exotic tastes to Malaysians who can’t just jump on a plane for a deep-fried snack.

“I’ve had a few people come back from the States who didn’t get a chance to try cronuts there, so when they came back to Malaysia they tried ours,” she said.

Satisfy your KLonut craving at Dessert Storm in Ben’s Independent Grocer, Publika.

Currently situated at Ben’s Independent Grocer, Publika, KLonuts go for RM7 per piece and are deep-fried to order.

Opening hours are 1pm to 10pm, but if you swing by earlier or later and are extremely nice to Mabel, she may just make you one!

But be warned – only 100 KLonuts are made every day!

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