Sunday morning pastries

By Sarah Levannier - April 08, 2014

The traditional croissant with red berry jam

In France, we enjoy having a nice croissant or “pain au chocolat” for breakfast. It’s a treat that we often buy during week-ends because it’s very rich and not that cheap (if you had to buy it every morning, I can tell you would have to make some sacrifices on other expenses!).

It’s been a while since I have kept bothering my family with the “and what if I baked some croissant?”. So I finally stopped with the “what if” and dived into the world of flaky dough.



To me, baking croissant was just as difficult as climbing the Himalaya. I had this prejudice over flaky dough that somehow restrained my will to try to bake some. But even though it’s long to make, I can tell you it’ very, very, very easy. You just have to be patient.

Of course, if you’re in a hurry, you can always use the ready-to-use dough you can find in your local supermarket. But it always tastes so much better when you cook it yourself… And beside, you will feel like you have accomplished something great when you’ll see the happy look of your relatives or friends.

"Lunettes" filled with rum, lime and almond flour


So let’s just not wait any longer and let’s dive into the world of flaky dough!

Recipe (Christophe Felder):

-        500g all purpose flour
-        25 g yeast (fresh)
-        100 g butter (softened)
-        60 g granulated sugar
-        10 g milk
-        12 g salt
-        230 g cold water
-        250 g cold butter for the “tourage”
-        1 egg yolk

Note: you can find a step-by-step recipe on this blog. The blog is in French but I have translated the recipe and the pictures will be of great help if my translation isn’t good enough. Note that you can find many step by step recipes with pictures to help you. However, I didn't really like their recipes. I like to stick to french values when it comes to french pastries! I hope you understand that!!

Steps: 

Combine the flour, the sugar, the salt and the yeast (finely crumbled) in the bowl of a heavy-duty standing mixer. Be careful, as you put in the ingredients before mixing, that the yeast and the salt do not touch one another.

Mix for a couple minutes and add in the water and milk. Keep mixing at medium speed until your dough loosens from the bowl’s sides. Transfer the dough into a plastic wrap and give it the shape of a rectangle. Let it proof in the fridge for two hours or overnight. You just made your first “detrempe”! Congratulations!

Now, up to the “tourage”.

Place the butter in the freezer 10 minutes before removing the dough from the fridge. Remove the plastic wrap and set the dough on a floured work surface. Use a rolling pin to spread the dough, giving it the shape of a rectangle that is 7 mm thick. Wrap your butter in a plastic sheet and use a rolling pin to give it the shape of square (half the size of your dough rectangle).

Place the butter square at the bottom of your rectangle and cover it. It has to be fully covered by the dough. You have a fold and a closing. The fold has to face the wall opposite you and the closing has to face you. Use a rolling pin and spread the dough on a 7 mm thickness again.

Refold the lower part of the dough up to the two third of the dough. Refold the upper part and make sure both edges touch one another. Fold the rectangle that you just got in two, so that you get four layers of dough.

Wrap your dough in a plastic wrap and set it in the fridge for one hour.

Place the dough on a floured work surface. This time, the fold must be on your right and the closing on your left. Spread the dough on a 7 mm thickness again and fold the lower part up to the middle. Fold the upper part over. Wrap it in a plastic sheet and set it in the fridge for another hour.

Set the dough on a floured work surface. Make sure the fold is on your left and the closing on you right. Spread it on a 3 mm thickness. Use a long and sharp knife to cut rectangles into the dough. Roll the rectangles into a croissant shape and let them grow on a baking sheet for at least 2 hours. You can use this dough to bake “pains au chocolat”, danishes, “pains aux raisins”…

I chose to fill some of my pastries with almonds, rum and lime. It’s very simple: just mix together 100 g of almond flour with 100 g of powdered sugar. Add the juice of a lime and two or three tablespoons rum. Spread this mixture on the dough before rolling it.

Preheat your oven at 350°F (180°C). When your croissants and other pastries are ready to be baked, glaze them with some egg yolk. Bake the croissants for 15 minutes or until they are golden on the surface.

You can freeze them if you don’t eat them all.
 Be careful, they only keep fresh for up to 12 hours (but this last comment is perfectly useless). 




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