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Pastry chef Dominique Ansel brings the cronut and more to the Las Vegas Strip

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Dominique Ansel
Palm Ocean Digital / Courtesy
Genevie Durano

The day before the official opening of his eponymous bakery at Caesars Palace, James Beard Award-winning pastry chef Dominique Ansel gave a few journalists a lesson in the art (but mostly science, he says) of the Viennoiserie, breakfast pastries typically made with flour and active yeast cultures. Croissants, pain au chocolat and brioche are some examples of this style of baking, which originated in Vienna, Austria.

The Lucky Cherry chambord and caramelia cronut

The Lucky Cherry chambord and caramelia cronut

Under the orange-and-white modernist space with whimsical globe light fixtures hanging from the ceiling like balloons, the chef recounted his lifelong quest to create the perfect croissant. It’s a quixotic pursuit that began when he was a boy growing up in Beauvais, France. In that bread-loving country—in which the neighborhood bakery, where people go three to four times a day, is a revered institution fundamental to daily life—Ansel learned and continues to hone the techniques for creating the perfect honeycomb crumb, that airy, spiral cross-section you get when you slice open a well-made croissant.

Because this type of baked good is made with an active yeast culture, or levain (this particular one was created more than a decade ago, affectionately dubbed “the baby” by the chef, because it has to be fed every day), the croissant is a constantly evolving thing. “I’ll be chasing the perfect croissant for the rest of my life,” Ansel says.

Meanwhile, on the way to croissant nirvana, Ansel found himself going viral a decade ago, when he invented the cronut at his bakery in New York City. The croissant-doughnut hybrid, which takes up to three days to make, took that city by storm, with people lining up for blocks.

The confection is made with laminated dough, then fried in grapeseed oil. It’s then rolled in sugar, filled with cream and topped with glaze. And Ansel only makes one flavor each month, never to be repeated.

The Vegas location’s inaugural cronut, available throughout November, is called the Lucky Cherry Chambord and Caramelia ($8). The sweet treat—rolled in sugar, filled with a Chambord jam and caramelized milk chocolate filling, then glazed with cherry icing—is inspired by those ubiquitous cherries found in slot machines. There are other only-in-Vegas pastries as well, including the Four-Leaf Clover ($12), a coffee mousse topped with hazelnut dacquoise, dark chocolate crémeux and crispy feuilletine create a four-leaf clover.

Also not to be missed is Ansel’s DKA, Dominique’s Kouign Amman ($7), his signature pastry (and the bestseller at his other locations), which rivals the croissants and cronuts for attention. The caramelized treat, with flaky layers on the inside and a crunchy crust, is worth the trip to the Strip all by itself.

DOMINIQUE ANSEL LAS VEGAS Caesars Palace, dominiqueansel.com. Daily, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.

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Tags: Dining, Food
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