Dominique Ansel is the chef/owner of an eponymous bakery in New York City, but you probably know him as the creator of the Cronut. His croissant-doughnut hybrid has gotten him far more attention and publicity than he ever got as executive pastry chef at Daniel, Daniel Boulud’s Manhattan flagship restaurant. His invention and, of course, his skill earned him the James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef last year. But it’s the Cronut that got Ansel on the Jimmy Fallon Show and a nod from Time magazine, which declared it one of the 25 Best Inventions of 2013.
1. Great butter. It’s the basic building block to so many great pastries and also, being French, a must for my morning baguette.
2. Dough sheeter. In professional bakeries, you hardly ever see someone use a rolling pin. With the volume we produce we use dough sheeters, which helps us roll out our dough evenly. It’s especially important in laminated doughs like croissants and the Cronut.
3. Bowl scraper. You can use it to spread, scoop, shape, and mix. It’s the Swiss Army knife of pastry kitchen tools.
4. Scale. To be precise in pastry, you must use a digital scale. It’s the first step of any recipe and one of the most crucial to get the ratios and measurements perfect.
5. Apple beignet. When I was young, I would dip apple rings into batter with my mom and fry them after dinner. It’s a simple recipe that I always go back to.