Tag Archives: Puff Pastry

Chocolate & Butter Croissants

5 Dec

Croissants are one of my favorite morning pastries. They’re flaky, savory and delicious and I’m shocked I haven’t made them before now. This past week in baking school was pretty hectic. The plan was to make chocolate butter-cream filled macaroons, butter croissants and chocolate croissants, but we ran out of time and only had enough time for the macaroons and the preparation of the croissant dough. Since I had my hopes up for some fabulous croissants the next morning (and I’m too impatient to wait a week!) I decided to make them on my own.

Interesting to note: have you ever noticed that there are some croissants that are straight and others that are curled?

    

Well, apparently this is not just a preference of the bakery, it actually has meaning. In France, a straight edged croissant is made from butter whereas a curled croissant is made from margarine. It is a way to cut costs since good butter can be very expensive, so the curled croissants are often cheaper, but the strait ones are better quality.

What You’ll Need:

Dough: Very similar to Puff Pastry (This makes 20 – 24 Croissants)

  • 500 Grams of Bread Flour (3.5 Cups) *
  • 65 Grams of Granulated Sugar (1/3 Cup)
  • 2 Tsp of Salt
  • 40 Grams of Softened Butter
  • 25 Grams of Yeast (2 Tbs)
  • 125 Milliliters of Milk
  • 124 Milliliters of Water
  • 300 Grams of Cold Butter

Croissant:

  • The Dough from above
  • 6-8 Ounces of Chocolate
  • Egg Wash (1 slightly beaten egg + 1 Tsp of water)

Directions:

For the Dough:

Combine the flour (make sure to see the note below with regards to the bread flour), sugar, salt and yeast (if dry yeast) in a mixing bowl. If you’re using an electric mixer you are going to use the paddle attachment to combine the ingredients. Then add the softened butter and mix.

If using fresh yeast, dissolve it into the water and mix, then add the liquids into the dry mixture and mix until just combined. The dough will be flaky and won’t come together as other doughs you may have worked with. Don’t add more liquid to it because it is supposed to be like this. Kneed it in the bowl a little until it starts to come together and then place it on your work surface, kneed lightly into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. The composition of your dough right now is a precursor to how your croissant will turn out after baking. A croissant is very flaky, light and airy, so if your dough is thick, wet and dense it is going to prevent the dough from rising properly which is what gives the dough its texture.

As with the Puff Pastry, you are going to turn the dough after it has rested. Unlike the Puff Pastry, you are only going to do 3 turns to the dough. Doing 6 turns will make the croissant too flaky. As my Chef in class would say, they’d be Cork Flakes.

After the last turn, let the dough sit in the fridge for roughly 40 minutes. When ready, place the dough on your work surface and cut in half. Roll each half out so that the width is around 8 inches and the length as long as need be to reach 3/8ths of an inch thick. One will be used for plain butter croissants and the other will be for chocolate croissants.

For Butter Croissants:

Starting at the bottom left corner, place your knife at an angle to create a right triangle and cut your first piece. Then, where the tip of your knife just was, cut straight across the dough to create your second piece. Repeat these steps until you reach the top of the dough.

Place one piece in front of you so that the wide end is farthest from you and the tip facing you. Cut a slit, roughly half an inch long down the center of the top. Fold the pieces away from you and slightly press down with you fingers

Using both hands, place your finger tips at the top and the your thumbs in the center with your hands at a slight angle so that you’re forming an arrow with your index fingers. Roll the dough down and out so that you stretch the dough wider as you roll down. Then, when you’ve rolled a little more than half way down place one hand on top of the dough, with the other hand grab the tip of the dough and stretch lightly down as the other hand rolls the dough until your hands meet. Place the croissant on a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet with the tip facing down. You don’t want the tip on top, or the croissant will open while rising and/or baking and you don’t want the tip all the way under because that will restrict the dough from rising.

For Chocolate Croissants:

Chop the chocolate into 4 inch long, 1/4 inch wide pieces.

Place the second sheet of rolled puff pastry on a floured surface in front of you. Cut 10 (or as many as you can) rectangles that are a little wider than the length of a chocolate piece and 4-5 inches long. Place a piece of chocolate at the top, roll the top of the dough over the piece of chocolate and press lightly with your fingers. Place a second piece over chocolate just in front and roll the dough over that piece twice until the seam is on the bottom. Place your hand directly on top and press lightly to seal.

     

Place the finished croissants, as you did with the butter croissants, on parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Once all the croissants are rolled and on their designated baking sheets, its time to proof them (aka let the dough rise). If you recall from the Cinnamon Sugar Pull-Apart Bread I made back in May, I had a great method in college for proofing dough, but it seemed to have failed in my NYC apartment resulting in blown fuses and a dark apartment. Well, luckily for me the problem has been solved! I was talking with another member of my baking class and he mentioned that a great way to proof your dough is to just put the light in your oven on and place the dough in there. The light will create enough heat and it will be undisturbed. It worked like a charm and saved me from the confusion of my fuse box!

Anyway, I let the dough proof for roughly an hour to an hour and a half or until they nearly double in size.

Once the croissants are proofed, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and bake for 30-35 minutes or until the tops are golden brown, rotating the pan half way through. Let them cool on the backing sheet for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve warm with some butter and coffee.

Enjoy!

* Bread Flour contains 12 to 14 percent protein, whereas all-purpose flour only has between nine and 11 percent protein. When you use all-purpose flour in a recipe calling for bread flour you can use the exact same amount of flour but you may find that breads take longer to rise or do not have the same density they would have if you had used bread flour.

Apple Raspberry Turnovers

2 Nov

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe, so as promised I’ll share with you one of my favorites!


Apple Raspberry Turnovers are the first pastry I ever baked where I experimented with puff pastry. To put it simply, it was an interesting challenge…

I was a senior in college and had just really gotten serious about baking. I was sitting around my apartment with my roommate Jan and my good friend Chris. I was asking if they had any baking ideas or anything they wanted me to try out. My roommate Jan (and this is why I love her) asked for chocolate chip cookies. To this day when I ask Jan what she wants me to bake for her, she always asks for chocolate chip cookies! Chris is another story. He started flipping though my baking books looking for something really good. He stumbles upon all different types of turnovers and he was sold. I took a look at the recipe and thought, oh that’s really not too bad, but little did I know that the “puff pastry” that it referred to was in the back of the book and roughly 3 pages long. By the time I realized what really went into making these turnovers, Chris was gone and Jan was grinning at me  from the couch.  I though: well, I asked for some ideas and I can’t back out now.

Jan was always entertained (slightly annoyed) by the mess I made in our kitchen and always made a point to document all of my baking adventures which included my first time making puff pastry! Luckily Chris wasn’t there that night when I realized how much work these turnovers actually were, but he definitely heard about it the next day 🙂

So I went out, got all of the ingredients, cleared off the kitchen table and started my baking. The turnovers came out GREAT and Chris ate all of them. In the end, I have to thank Chris because if it wasn’t for him it would have taken me much longer to learn about Puff Pastry which is now one of my favorite doughs to work with.

What You’ll Need:

Apple Raspberry Compote:

  • 1.5 Pounds of Apples (roughly 4) – Peeled, halved and cored
  • 1 Cup of Raspberries
  • 2 Cups of Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Tbs of Vanilla
  • Juice from Half a Lemon
  • 1/2 Cup of Water

Dough

Egg Wash:

  • 1 large Egg Yolk
  • 1 Tbs of Heavy Cream

To Prepare:

  • Line 1 – 2 Baking Sheets with Parchment Paper and set aside
  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F

Directions

These turnovers aren’t too tricky once you get passed the dough. If you are making the puff pastry at home, be sure to check out my Baking Tips – Puff Pastry. Also, depending on the time you have it may make sense to make the puff pastry the day before and let it chill overnight. If you have store-bought puff pastry make sure that it is fully defrosted by the time you want to use it.

Let’s start with the apple raspberry compote:

Once the apples have been peeled, halved and cored, cut them into roughly 1/4-inch cubes. It is important to make sure that the cubes are all the same size so that the compote cooks evenly. They don’t have to be exact, but it’s just something to be aware of.

Place the apples, sugar, vanilla, lemon juice and water into a saucepan on medium heat and cover with parchment paper.

**A trick to covering the saucepan: Cut a circle out the size of the saucepan with a 1-inch hole in the center. Now crumble it up really well (I know, this sounds a little crazy, but trust me!). Un-crumble it and place it directly on top of the apples. You’ll notice that because you crumbled it, it is much easier to shape and place directly on the apples.

Let the apples sit for a while until you start to notice the water evaporating. Stir the apples around to make sure all of them are getting cooked and add the raspberries. Stir and let sit for another couple of minutes and once the water has evaporated and the raspberries are broken down, the compote is finished.

This compote is actually great on its own and can be drizzled over brownies or cakes to add a bit of sweetness. Be creative with it if you’d like by adding different fruits.

Now it’s time to work with the Puff Pastry and put the turnovers together. You’re only going to use about 1 pound of the Puff Pastry. Make sure to flour your work surface (This is VERY important! Even as you’re rolling be sure to check and add flour as needed so that the dough doesn’t stick to the surface) and roll out the Puff Pastry to a 17in by 9in rectangle (or as close to a rectangle as you can get), about 1/8 inch thick.

Cut out eight 4-inch squares. If the dough is on the warmer side, place the squares on the prepared baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30min to an hour. Once chilled, place about a tablespoon of the apple raspberry compote in the center of each square.

Brush the edges of the squares with egg wash (whisk together the egg yolk and heavy cream) and fold diagonally over the filling to form a triangle. Using the prongs of a fork, crimp the edges of the triangles.

Place the filled turnovers on a baking sheet, cover in plastic wrap and freeze for about 20-30 minutes. The turnovers can be frozen for up to 3 weeks  and there is no need to thaw before placing in the oven.

Brush the tops of the turnovers with egg wash and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake, rotating halfway through, until the turnovers are puffed and deep golden, 30-35 minutes.

Once out of the oven, immediately transfer the turnovers to a cooling rack.

Let cool and enjoy!

 

 

Baking School – Week 5

24 Oct

Well it was another successful baking class this week! We made a whole new batch of puff pastry, baked a Napoleon and a Fruit Tart from the Puff Pastry we made last week and we finally got to ice our Reine de Saba chocolate cake!

     

At this point in the class I feel that I can make pastry cream in my sleep and roll out enough puff pastry to feed NYC. I’m beginning to feel like a real baker!

I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe and I’m going to do my very best to change that ASAP! Leave a comment with some suggestions! I’ve already had a couple:

1) Petits Fours            2) Apple Pie

             

What are your thoughts?

Check back soon for some delicious treats! Also, thanks Jimmy for the great pictures 🙂

Enjoy!

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