The unstoppable march of hybrid bakery products

  • 9 October 2013

The "duffin", a mash-up of a doughnut and a muffin, is the latest portmanteau baked good to make the news. Why are these pastry amalgams suddenly everywhere, wonders Jon Kelly.

It started with the Cronut, an unholy mongrel of croissant and doughnut.

Then followed the townie (a tartlet crossed with a brownie) and the brookie (a blend of brownies and cookies endorsed by Martha Stewart, no less).

Oh, and there's also the muffle (muffin plus waffle), the crookie (croissant, meet cookie) and the macanut (a macaroon-doughnut fusion).

Now we have the Duffin, a doughnut-muffin compound that captured headlines after it was trademarked by a Starbucks supplier, despite having been produced by an independent London tearoom for the past couple of years.

Portmanteau bakery, it seems, is everywhere. Even BuzzFeed, the ne plus ultra of modishness, is suggesting new alternatives.

At one stage in culinary history these confections would have been shunned as an offence to both God and nature.

But patisseries around the world are discovering there is money to be made out of these seemingly ungainly intermixtures.

Desperate dessert-lovers began camping out overnight after New York pastry chef Dominique Ansel launched the cronut. Touts were reportedly selling black market samples at $100 (£63) a pop.

Ansel was paid the ultimate compliment when a trademark-circumventing imitator was launched by Tyneside-based bakery chain Gregg's, named - of course - the Greggsnut.

Some people will no doubt regard them as an insult to gastronomy, if not the English language.

But food and compound nouns have a long history. The word "brunch" first appeared in Punch in 1895, and there's no reason why the trend shouldn't extend to elevenses, says food writer Nigel Barden.

"It doesn't matter what they call them as long as they're tasty and not too sugary," he adds.

One might find oneself holding out for the freckle - a marriage of fruit scone and Eccles cake that, regrettably, exists thus far only in the imagination.

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