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Croissants

A croissant is a buttery, flaky pastry named for its well-known crescent shape. Croissants and made of a layered yeast-leavened dough. The dough is layered with butter, rolled and folded several times in succession, then rolled into a sheet, in a technique called laminating. The process results in a layered, flaky texture, similar to a puff pastry.  After mastering the plain version, be sure to try the almond, cheese or pizza fillings below.

Be sure to read more about the latest craze, cronuts, which is a croissant/doughnut hybrid in the post Crazy For Cronuts.

1 x 10 g sachet instant yeast
750 ml cake flour
375 ml lukewarm milk
30 ml sugar
7,5 ml salt
1 large egg
250 ml additional cake flour
200 g butter

Glaze
1 large egg
30 ml water or milk

  1. Mix the yeast with the 750 ml cake flour in a mixing bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients except extra flour and butter/margarine and mix.
  2. Add sufficient extra flour gradually to form a soft dough and knead on a floured surface only until smooth. Cut the butter or margarine into six slices. 
  3. Roll out the dough into a rectangular shape about 1,5 cm thick. Place three slices of the butter or margarine in the center of the dough and fold over the dough from the one side to cover.  Place the remaining three slices on top and cover with the dough from the other side to seal in butter or margarine.  Turn the dough 90° and roll again into a rectangular shape about 1,5 cm thick.  Fold again into three layers and repeat until it has been rolled four times.  Streaks of butter or margarine should still be visible in the dough to ensure flaky croissants. Cover the dough airtight and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours before shaping and baking.
  4. Divide the dough into two and roll out each portion on a floured surface into a circle about 25 cm in diameter and 1 cm thick.  Cut each circle into 8 even-sized triangles by cutting into wedges as if cutting a round cake.Stretch the wide base of each triangle slightly and roll up the croissants loosely from the base to the tip.  Make sure to end with the tips underneath to prevent them from curling up during baking.  Twist each croissant forward into a crescent shape and place slightly apart onto un greased baking trays.
  5. Brush with glaze and allow to rise at room temperature for at least 30 minutes or until the croissants appear slightly puffy.  Rising in a warm place will spoil the texture and the butter or margarine will leak out during baking.
  6. Bake at 180°C for about 20 minutes or until well-risen, firm and golden.
  7. Serve warm or allow to cool on a wire rack.

Makes 16 medium croissants or 24 smaller – see below for shaping smaller croissants

Recipe by Carolié de Koster from the Art of Cooking Recipe book p. 846.

Smaller Croissants
Divide the dough into three and roll out three circles before cutting into triangles.

Variations:

Almond Croissants

Almond filling
125 g butter
125 ml sugar
1 large egg
250 ml almond meal
few drops almond essence – or more to taste
± 60 ml cake flour flour

  1. Beat the butter, sugar and almond meal very well for 5 minutes – the mixture will be grainy crumbly. Add the egg and beat well for 3 minutes. 2. Add the flour and beat in until it is no longer visible and the mixture has become moderately firm. Refrigerate until ready to use but allow to soften a short while before using.
  2. Place teaspoons of the filling onto the croissants before rolling up – take care not to overfill.

Cheese croissants
For one recipe croissant dough have ready about 150 g grated cheese such as a flavourful cheddar. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the rolled out circles and roll lightly into the dough with the rolling pin. Complete as explained above and sprinkle the glazed croissants with paprika or paprika mixed with a little cayenne pepper.

Pizza flavoured croissants
Spread the croissants with a little of any suitable tomato topping for pizzas and sprinkle with herbs, grated cheese and any additional typical pizza ingredients. Roll up and sprinkle lightly with paprika or paprika mixed with a little cayenne pepper.

Wholewheat croissants
Substitute 1½ cups (375 ml) of the extra cake flour with wholewheat flour for delicious brown croissants which may also be turned into cheese croissants as explained above.

Festive fruit mincemeat croissants
Place a small teaspoon of fruit mincemeat onto the base of each triangle before rolling up. Glaze with icing glaze (icing sugar mixed with a little milk)

Variable herb and cheese croissants
Sprinkle 1 – 2 cups (250 – 500 ml) grated Cheddar or Mozzarella cheese or crumbled Feta cheese and chopped fresh or dried herbs over the circles before cutting and rolling up. Sprinkle lightly with any preferred seasoining salt. Strips of ham and / or fried chopped onion or spring onion may be added with the cheese.