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12 February, 2012

croissants

The Roux brothers are absolute favourites of mine. No doubt that they know something about gastronomy...consider the Le Gavroche, which was the first restaurant in the UK earning three (!) Michelin Stars (their first restaurant in the UK). Or the Waterside Inn in Bray, which has three Michelin starts as well, and managed to get hold of that in the last 26 years - now that's what I call perfection. (hm, people living in Bray are very lucky ones if you consider that Heston's Fat Duck is in Bray too...:) )

Now, how does it come to the fact that I made croissants last nite? Well, the thing is that I took my Michel Roux [Senior's] Pastry book and took a deep breath and embarked upon a journey of making croissants.
I must confess it has been haunting me, not the book, the croissant pastry that is. I have not managed to prepare good ones so far but this book gave me confidence. It helped me to understand flan pastry, shortcrust and the difference between puff pastry and croissant pastry.
Thanks to this book I prepared the first time acceptable croissants that were easy to make, involved minimum effort from my side, and gave me enough success and confidence to consider keeping it as a part of my repertoire. Lovely!


Chocolate and Hazelnut Cream Croissants:
(for 0,5 kg pastry)
7g dried yeast
125ml milk
250g flour
6g salt
30g sugar
cca. 135 g butter
egg yoke plus a dash of milk for the egg wash


1. step: warm up the milk in the microwave if taken out of the fridge, and add the sugar and the yeast. Let it bubble on room temperature for 5 minutes.
Mix the flour and the salt, add the milk/yeast and start to work the dough. Work only till it does not stick to the side of the dish. Don't overwork the base dough otherwise the pastry is not going to be light and fluffy.
Let the pastry rest on room temperature for an hour or as long as it doubles in size.


2.step: Knock the air out of the dough and work it on a lightly floured surface and form a ball shape out of it. Make a 3 cm deep cross on the top and roll out the pastry to 0,5 cm thick, and try to keep the shamrock shape.


3. step: take the butter out of the fridge, bash it into a flat rectangular shape with the rolling pin and put that in the middle of the dough. Fold the edges of the dough over the butter so it embraces perfectly and overlaps a bit.


4.step: Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 30X15 cm rectangle and fold into three. One side from the left, one from the right so they overlap on each other. Let the pastry rest in (wrapped in clingfilm) the fridge for 30 mins.


5. step: Take the pastry out of the fridge, turn with 90° and roll it out. Fold into three like previously described, wrap into clingfilm and put in the fridge for an other 30 mins.


6. step: Roll out eh pastry again but in an opposite direction as previously, fold into three again, put into the fridge for 30 more mins (but not more than an hour).


7.step: Take out the pastry from the fridge roll out to 3 mm and cut into 3-4 big rectangles. Half the rectangles at the diagonal line (use a sharp knife!) and you have 6 big (or 8 smaller) triangles. Take the triangle and make a 1 cm incision in the middle of the base, put a spoon of choc. hazelnut cream above the incision and roll it up carefully and tightly.

8. step: Put the croissants on a baking sheet, form quickly into a crescent and brush them with the egg wash. Let them double in size for 1 or 2 hs, brush with the egg before putting in the 170°C pre-heated oven and bake for 14 or 15 mins.  
Eat it fresh or if next day consumed then warm it up in the microwave.