This year, I have decided to try my hand at one new recipe per week at least. I know some of those recipes will be small challenges because they could have techniques or flavours I do not know, or be of a type of world cuisine I have never experimented (with cooking it at least).
One recipe I had tried before but turned out to be a disaster (because the instructions were completely wrong may I say...) was making my own croissants. And when I say disaster, it was one of the buttery kinds. My work surface was completely covered in melted butter. Because, you see, the recipe was telling me to do all the four turns of dough in one go, with no resting time in the fridge in between. The croissants turned out to be more like little brioches in crescent shapes. Well, they were edible and alright so that is one thing I guess. But they were not croissants!
Then, I tried another recipe but this time, it had too much liquid in the list of ingredients (probably a mistake...) so the dough was all gloopy. I ended up having to add more flour and it made the croissants texture more like a brioche again.
After a few trials last week (and many croissants and pains au chocolat eaten; don't worry, I shared them all with friends!), I finally came up with something that works. Very obviously, croissants are not my own creation (its creation goes as back as the 13th century actually...) but for me to be happy with how they turned out, I mixed bits of recipes here and there, et voilà!
Delicious sweet, puffy and buttery croissants!
And here is the recipe for it!
On that note, I am off to eat my homemade croissants with some delicious creamery butter and raspberry jam.
Ingredients (makes 24 croissants)
250ml lukewarm full fat milk
15g dried yeast
500g plain flour (plus extra for dusting)
65g fine caster sugar
7g fine sea salt
250g cold unsalted butter
For the egg wash
1 free range egg
1 tablespoon cold water
To make the croissant dough
1. Mix the dried yeast with the lukewarm milk in a bowl. Let it rest for 5 minutes until foamy.
2. Put the flour, sugar and salt in a large baking bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the milk and yeast mixture. Mix the ingredients with your fingertips. Then, knead the dough until it is not sticky anymore and all the flour is incorporated. Shape the dough into a ball. Wrap it in clingfilm and leave in the fridge for one hour.
Using a rolling pin, pound the butter until it is flattened evenly. Roll it into a 15 x 15cm square. Wrap the butter square in the baking paper and place in the fridge.
Remove the excess flour with a pastry brush (an important step in order to get a clean homogeneous dough).
5. Place the chilled butter square in the centre of the dough. Fold the dough into three like a letter and close the open edges with your fingers.
8. After the fourth time, divide the dough in four and wrap each piece of dough individually in cling film. Leave in the fridge for at least 8 hours. You could leave it 24 hours but the croissants may not rise as well.
1. Lightly dust a large flat surface with flour. Take one piece of dough and roll it out to a 45 x 15cm rectangle (or in my case a parallelogram to make even triangle long sides). To get clean cuts, you will need to trim the edges of the rectangle (all the extra dough can be shaped into a ball, wrapped in clingfilm and used later for little pies or tartlets, the texture will be similar to puff pastry; it can be put in the freezer for up to three weeks).
2. Cut 6 triangle shapes (see photo below).
If needs be, you can gently pull on the corners of the triangle base to make the sides even.
Take one of the triangles. Remove the excess flour with a pastry brush. Lightly brush the surface with a bit of cold water. Roll the dough up starting from the base (see photos below). Shape into a small crescent. Place your croissant shape on the baking tray.
Repeat with the rest of the triangles, leaving 5cm between each croissant.
4. Cover with clingfilm and leave to rest and rise a bit in a draught free place for 15 to 45 minutes.
Make the egg wash by beating the egg together with the tablespoon of cold water in a small bowl.
6. Brush the croissants with the egg wash. Place the tray in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until the croissants are golden to light brown.
Transfer the croissants onto a wire rack to cool down. If you want to eat your croissants warm, wait for about 5 minutes.
Eat your croissants with some butter and jam, or the sweet spread of your choice (yes, you probably know the one I mean...).
You could also use the dough for savoury croissant options such as adding a bit of ham and grated cheese inside before baking for example. Play with it! There are so many flavours you could try.
And very obviously, the dough can also be used to make delicious pains au chocolat. See this video for an idea on how to shape them (all in French, sorry! But have a look at how the pains au chocolat are made, that should be easy to understand).
The croissants are best eaten within two days. If you have made too many (like I did), I am sure a lot of people will be happy to help you devour... eating them!
And if you end up trying this recipe, I would love to hear how it turned out for you!