#1 – 48 recipes challenge: Recipe 34 – Almond Croissants
Last year I joined a Clandestine Cake Club. We have a theme to which we bake and then we meet once a month to share our creations. It means eating a lot of cake, and trying a lot of new recipes. The rules are that it has to be one large cake, capable of being sliced into 8-12 slices. Except this month. To celebrate the New Year, this month we had ‘Anything Goes’ as our theme so we were allowed to make cupcakes, muffins, biscuits, scones, basically anything we liked. Being someone who generally likes to bend the rules, I was desperate to take the opportunity to bake something for cake club which wasn’t one single traditional cake. Somehow I came up with the idea of doing almond croissants and once I’d had the idea, it became an obsession.
If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that the idea of researching a recipe and reading around it before diving on in and starting to bake is fairly new to me. Luckily, this one I felt did need some research and boy, did it. Some recipes told me to make almond croissants by adding sugar syrup and almond paste to day old ordinary croissants. Others told me to use Danish pastry dough, and others still a croissant dough. Any which way, it became clear that I was going to have to produce a laminated dough (i.e. one where the raw dough is layered with butter), much like puff pastry. Which I’ve also never made…
What was also abundantly clear was that this was going to be an interesting logistical challenge. The dough had to be made, kneaded and left for a minimum of two hours before rolling, inserting the butter slab and folding. It then needed to be chilled, rolled, refolded and chilled again. Four times. And then chilled overnight before the final rolling, filling and shaping. This really needed a weekend, but I didn’t have a weekend free. So, it was a 6am start one chilly Tuesday morning to get the dough made and chilling before I went off to work, an evening spent laminating the dough (rolling, folding, chilling), then 24 hours in the fridge followed by another evening making the frangipane filling, shaping and proving the croissants before trial baking a couple to check they were OK and freezing the rest to be baked on the night of Cake Club.
I’ve never had to use a tape measure for baking before! But there were precise measurements given in the recipes so I thought I ought to be precise, especially given last month’s baking fail.
I ended up using a mash up of two different recipes. Firstly Paul Hollywood’s Danish pastry dough, because he advised in the recipe that it could be frozen. And then the frangipane from Every Nook and Cranny together with Just Jo’s method of filling and shaping the croissants because it was so well explained and so easy to follow. (Now there’s something else I wouldn’t have even considered doing back in the day when I didn’t research recipes before cooking them; mashing two different recipes together to get the results I wanted! I’m learning.)
After spending 48 hours on the dough, I really, really didn’t want these to fail.
They didn’t. Put simply, they were magnificent.
The trial bakes, eaten warm from the oven, were soft, sweet and doughy. The baked and cooled version taken to Cake Club were crisp and flavourful. I was worried that the frozen ones wouldn’t rise as they were supposed to, but that was definitely not an issue. They rose and proudly displayed their layers of pastry, oozing their glorious frangipane. Whilst very good cold, straight from the oven they were heavenly.
This is definitely something I’d bake again. The croissants cooked from frozen really well, so it would be possible to have a batch in the freezer and then just take them out to bake as and when you fancy a treat for breakfast. Perhaps I’ll try pain au chocolat next…
Scores for this bake are:
Healthiness – 3/10 (There’s a lot of butter and sugar in here, they’re a treat not an everyday)
Ease of prep – 5/10 (The process isn’t difficult, just time consuming)
Flavour/taste – 10/10 (I just can’t fault these, they were great. Even if I do say so myself)