A couple of days ago, Mangy and I caught a cooking program on TV, where 2 grown men were drooling over home-made croissants. I spent 2 days researching the process and finally gave up. I know one day I will get to it, but I’m not ready just yet.
I’ve also been researching cheat methods to making croissants, while most cooks recommend puff pastry, I know it’s never going to be the same. Puff pastry is flaky and crispy but lacks the tender bread-like chewiness that yeast gives.
So after planning and plotting, I finally decided to give it a go my way. This afternoon we purchased Puff-pastry sheets made out of real butter. With a bit of tweaking, we got it a little closer to real croissants. Not a perfect imposter, but at least a distant cousin of the croissant.
Strangely enough, they were playing Julie & Julia on telly tonight, so it was only apt that I had something remotely french cooling on my kitchen bench. I rarely watch a movie more than once, but I’d be happy to watch J & J over and over again. I only wish I read the book before the movie was released, now I feel it’s too late to read it. Or maybe I should?
Here’s the recipe for my faux chocolate croissants. I also made a few plain ones and they went wonderfully with jam.
- 1 sheet of Puff-Pastry (real butter)
- 1 thin slice of butter (the best you can find)
- Chocolate (any kind, I used Cadbury Milk) – or replace with jam or leave out entirely for plain ones
- Icing sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
Allow the puff pastry to thaw. Dust a silicone mat or counter top liberally with icing sugar, lay the puff pastry sheet on top.
Dust the top of the pastry sheet with icing sugar, cut the butter into thin strips, and lay it out on one half of the sheet. fold the sheet over the butter. Dust the top with icing sugar, and roll out carefully. By pressing 2 layers of puff pastry together, you’re creating an outer layer that will go crisp and flaky, and an inner layer that will cook but will remain chewy and soft (while usually not desirable in a puff pastry – it kinda works for us here).
Once you have rolled out the pastry into a larger rectangle – about the size of the original sheet you started with, cut the sheet into 4 equal rectangles. Then cut again from corner of each rectangle, diagonally to the other corner, thus forming triangles.
Place a square or two of chocolate on the widest end of the triangle, and then begin rolling up the pastry towards the narrowest end. Lay out the rolled up pastry on a tray lined with baking paper. Place the tray in the fridge for about 1 hour. You want it chilled. When the cold butter hits the heat of the oven, it’ll cause the layers to explode, forming the flaky layers. You need this especially because you don’t have yeast to do this for you.
Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees, beat the egg and water together. Remove the tray from the fridge, brush pastry with egg wash and place the tray inside oven. Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes.
You would usually bake store bought puff pastry at a higher temperature for a shorter time, but you need the extra time and lower temperature to cook the pastry through, otherwise the inner layer of pastry will be uncooked and doughy.
Once baked, remove from the oven, let cool (the chocolate inside will be molten otherwise) – Enjoy!