Pastry Day 2011: Croissants and Apple Pie

Posted on September 25, 2011

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This was supposed to be a post entitled Croissant Challenge 2011. But instead, my kitchen momentum got the better of me (and no major disasters heading into the 2nd turn of the croissants), I started on a pie crust…and then dinner for a few visiting folks.

Sidenote: The “turns” of the croissants described as happening every 25 minutes sounded like a race course–a 6 hour one-that led to an overnight homestretch…”And, here it goes again–look at the butter make the turn smoothly! Roll baby roll” It’s a real marathon rather than a sprint. I write, as I sniff the delicious smells coming from the oven a full 26 hrs after I pulled the butter out to get it to room temperature.

We both think it smells amazing.

I can barely concentrate on posting, so excited am I to chomp into one of these babies.

Friday night I began with a tutorial video. It is great, so I’ll post it here.

Great Basic Video for Beginners (me)

Obviously I had to convert some ingredient measurements, so I’ll save you folks the trouble and share now. I also increased the amount of flour it called for–just eyeballing it to get the dough sticky but not too liquidy, as it had been when I stopped at the called for amount. If you know what you are doing, trust yourself.

3 sticks butter-room temperature

Yeast-2 packages plus a tiny bit of a 3rd (2.7 tablespoons)

Lukewarm milk (I did it in a saucepan-don’t bring to boil!) and I kept it separate with the yeast to give it a jumpstart before mixing with flour mixture

Flour (2 cups plus more as needed to get

Salt (1.5 Tbsp)

Sugar (roughly 1/3 c-eyeball it!?)

Egg white for brushing at the end–don’t get this ready with the other ingedients– you have 24 hrs till you need it!

I started the recipe at noon. Could probably do as late as 3, depending on when you want to start your “overnight” rise.

Here it goes in a nutshell.

Dry ingredients in stand mixer.

Yeast and warm milk (my OOPS was I scalded the first round, distracted by my little distractor).

Mix for 8-10 minutes.

Add flour as needed.

Take sticky dough (with flour hands) and place in a bowl to rise-2 hrs-ish.

Butter flattened out in rectangle–put in fridge for same 2 hrs.

Bring together butter and dough in the beginning of their intimate relationship.

The two become one but yet remain entirely distinct.

Chocolate snuck into a few of them...

Eggwash

The beauty of croissants, and of all pastry to varying degrees, as I ranted to my husband and friends who patiently listened–is the distinctness of the butter. It folds and folds itself in layers upon thin layers of dough without every fully blending, thus during baking time–the butter(fat) changes when heating and allows air and flavor to exist in complete harmony saturating the surrounding dough layers with a soft, rich, texture that will change your life. If you let it.

The dough must then be “turned” every 30 min or so. I let it go longer on most occasions because it was a typical busy saturday–farmers market, carousel, football game, etc. So the good news is, the dough is somewhat flexible in this regard. Just build it into your 24 hr plan, and tell yourself it’s worth it.

Turning the dough is placing it on flour with folded seam vertical, and rolling it out longways, then making another triptych fold. Easier to watch than explain, hence my video link above. Very quick and easy.

I wrapped it well for the overnight rise (after 3 turns), and came back to it roughly noon the next day.

Cut into isoceles (or something like them) triangles after trimming and making a beautiful rectangle (and don’t waste any scraps! They taste good as rolled up goofy spiral shapes).

Roll into the beautiful cresent shapes, and then wrap in plastic or plastic bags for the final rise–roughly 1.5 hrs, though think you could do a shorter rise if you wish.

Oven preheat to 375, bake for 15 min or until the smell and desired color make you crazy and you pull them out, risking burned tongue and fingers in order to pop one in your mouth.

Golden Perfection

We served with a light plum jam.

Perfect.

Easier than I expected–just painstaking–but my life is a wonderful rhythm of “out time” and “in time” for naps, so this worked great. The look on my husband’s face tells me we’ll be making these again soon šŸ™‚ and he won’t complain about the dishes involved.

Worth the wait

Apple pie recipe here, I’ll spare you the first attempts and just offer you the award winning version, though the journey is worth the tale-another post for a rainy day…

Waiting for the husband to say "No. more. pie."

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Posted in: Pastry, pie