The mania surrounding the Cronut was heard nationwide, including almost 3,000 miles away, in Ocean Beach, San Diego where Vivian Hernandez-Jackson of Azúcar was inspired to create the Cray-nut ($4), a Cuban take on the much-hyped doughnut/croissant hybrid.
The name is a mash-up of "cray cray" (signifying the treat's crazy-delicious qualities) and "Cronut", the original (and trademarked!) treat from Dominique Ansel Bakery.
Azúcar's Cuban take on the Cronut is crafted from the bakery's standard butter croissant dough. It's cut in the shape of a doughnut, lightly fried, and filled with a Malibu rum-spiked coconut custard. On top, there's vanilla bean and coconut flavored icing in the bakery's signature lime green, along with a sprinkling of almond slices that are rolled in vanilla bean-infused sugar.
Frying accentuates the flakiness of the dough, giving it a quality similar to baklava, but without the sweet, honey tinge. The coconut custard is a great counterpoint. It's smooth and silky, with chewy bits of shredded coconut mixed in. The Cray-nut is one of the sweeter items at Azúcar, but still balanced enough that the sugar factor stops short of being too overwhelming.
Cray-nuts are a special item at Azúcar. A limited run will be available each Monday, starting at 12 p.m. until they're gone.