I love pastries, especially croissants and pain aux raisin. Mind you the last time I did a course with Richard Bertinet, I had the most amazing almond croissant. And for someone who really doesn’t eat nuts, it’s quite an achievement to find something with that has nuts in it that I’ll quite happily walk through hot coals for.
However the homemade variety of any of the above are labour intensive. A true labour of love. So I’ve tried to come up with a variation that doesn’t stray too far from the true path of viennoise. And yes, it takes time, but is not work intensive.
Are they as good as Richards? No. But then I’ve had croissants from the depth of France that aren’t as good as his. It’s all about balance.
My Cheat’s Croissants
Makes 16 croissants
500g strong bread flour
300g cold unsalted butter, cubed
240g lukewarm milk
30g fresh yeast (15g- active dry yeast)
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon milk
Mix the flour, salt and sugar in a mixer bowl. Warm the milk to a little under blood temperature and add the yeast. Leave to “sponge” for 5 minutes.
Add the milk/ yeast to the flour and mix on low speed until it looks almost like a bad cookie dough. Add the cubed cold butter in three goes, mixing slowly each time. When the butter cubes look evenly spaced through the dough, cover and leave in the fridge for a few hours.
Remove from the fridge and gently start to bash the dough into a square with a flour duster rolling pin. Then roll out to a large rectangle. Working quickly, fold the outer edges in to touch, a little like a book. Give the dough a quarter turn and roll out again, repeating the folding and turning once more. Keep your work surface well dusted with flour and also remember not to turn the dough over. Just keep in sliding!
Fold again like a book, wrap in clingfilm and leave overnight in the fridge.
Next day roll out the dough as thin as you can on your floured surface. Using a very sharp knife, cut triangles out of strips. Roll up as demonstrated in the video clip.
Brush with egg wash (the egg yolk and milk, mixed well).
Leave to rise for about 1 1/5 hours before baking in a preheated 200oC oven for about 12 minutes.