Monday, September 8, 2008

Yes You Can: Almond Croissants

Croissants are hard to make. You need loads of time, counter space, and expertise. And butter. No one really has any business trying them at home. That’s what great bakeries are for. Sadly, there’s a dearth of excellent pastry out there. And no item is more poorly done than the croissant.

I’ve discovered it’s possible to - in the immortal words of Kanye West - Make a Benz Outta that Datsun by turning a plain store bought croissant into a nearly homemade almond croissant. The croissants I used were from Costco. Surprisingly, these are better than most of what I’ve tasted at Chicago bakeries and caf├ęs. They are sold by the dozen, natch, but this works well as the recipe calls for freezing them.

Make these the next time you’ve got lots of hungry people in your home in the morning. You will make them very happy. Here’s how:

Almond Croissants
Print recipe only here

YOU WILL NEED
For the filling:
• 1 dozen plain croissants, frozen
• 8 ounces almond paste
• 4 ounces butter
• 2 eggs
• 2 ounces almond meal (roughly
½ cup)
• 2 ounces flour (scant ½ cup)

Also:
• Simple syrup (½ cup water and ½ cup sugar, 2-3 strips of orange peel (just use a regular vegetable peeler) and a piece of vanilla bean if you have it. Bring to a boil and cook 4 minutes or until the sugar is dissolved.
• ½ cup sliced almonds, raw
• powdered sugar for dusting

METHOD

1. Prep almond cream:
• In a mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and almond paste together, 5 minutes.
• Add eggs, one at a time, mixing thoroughly between additions.
• Add almond meal and flour, and mix well, scraping the bottom of the bowl to ensure the butter is well incorporated.

2. Prep simple syrup, keeping warm.

3. Preheat oven to 300° convection or 350° standard.

4. Remove croissants from freezer and slice in half, crosswise.

5. Brush or squirt simple syrup on the inside of both halves.

6. Spread a layer of almond cream on the bottom of each croissant. Replace top half and spread a very thin layer of almond cream on the top half.

7. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and press on gently so they stick.

8. Transfer to a parchment-lined sheet pan and bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until nicely golden, rotating pan halfway to ensure even color.

9. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Before serving, dust with powdered sugar (a mesh tea-immerser does this trick nicely).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Home bakers have every right and privilege to make croissants at home! They are not as difficult as you may think. With a basic understanding of yeast breads and rolling technique, any serious home baker with a lot of patience and willingness for trial-and-error can make them. Better than the Costco or grocery store down the street. It took me 3 or 4 months to get them right, but I got there!

Home bakers, don't give up. Get a good book, a good movie instruction, or a good teacher to show you how!

On that note, the croissants you have modified in your picture look delicious! All the best-