When reading over the recipe for this week's Tuesday's With Dorie, I immediately felt intimidated. Croissants?!? Seriously?!?
After reading the recipe several more times, I gained confidence. The ingredients were simple. The process lengthy. The results heavenly! (And messy!! More on that....)
Before I go too far, please take a peek at Amanda's blog at Girl + Food = Love. Amanda has beautiful step-by-step photos, helpful hints, and the recipe if you're up to the challenge!
So I gathered the courage, figured out the timing, and made the dough on Friday evening so that it could rest in the fridge overnight. Saturday morning I began the process of rolling, folding, resting and chiling. Rolling, folding, resting and chilling. Rolling, folding, cutting, forming, rising, and baking! 24 hours later I had croissants!
Yes, I was baking at 10:00 at night. Why?? Because the entire process of making these buttery and flaky pastries needed a full 24 hours. Amanda was wiser than I. She began in the morning, so the following morning she was able to bake. Makes more sense, right??
Regardless, my croissants were beautiful and scrumptious! Here's a summary in pictures, followed by a funny story.
The dough, after resting in the fridge overnight.
The dough is rolled to a large oval, and the chilled disc of butter is laid on top. Then, the top and bottom sides of the dough enclose the butter.
The butter is "whacked" with the rolling pin, then rolled flat. Then the side of the dough are folded in.
At this point the dough is set on a sheet pan and covered, then refrigerated for at least 2 hours. After that time, the dough is rolled again, folded again, and refrigerated again. Then the dough is rolled and folded into a "wallet", a book-like double fold. Imagine all the layers of dough and butter that have been created with all the rolling and folding!!
The dough is rolled for the last time, cut into triangles, stretched gently by hand, and formed into crescent shapes. This is where I struggled the most, apparently. As I gently tried to stretch the triangles of dough, the dough cracked and broke. I was not able to stretch it as much as I should have, thus my croissants do not have the beautiful and classy croissant look.
The croissants are brushed with an egg wash and set aside to rise for 3-4 hours in a warm place.
They're brushed again with an egg wash, then baked until deeply golden brown.
I prepared a walnut filling for some of my croissants, following the recipe (but substituting walnuts for almonds) in the Baking With Julia cookbook. The sweet filling had finely chopped nuts, brown sugar, butter, and a little flour. Weeelllll......here is where the fun really began in my kitchen!!
As you can see, the nut filling oozed out, and since I neglected to use a sheet pan with sides, the butter dripped off of the pans, onto the oven floor. Oh yes. You can imagine the smoke! Needless to say my smoke detectors did their job. (Keep in mind this is 10:00 at night, and I have four sleeping children upstairs!!)
So, there I stood, beneath the nearest smoke detector, using my daughter's science fair display board to fan the smoke away from the smoke detector.
FOR. 20. MINUTES.
Yes, I did. 20 minutes of an upper-body workout (haha) as the 4 1/2 sticks of butter baked in the oven.
Was it worth it? Um, yeah. Look at these buttery flaky layers!
I waited what seemed like an eternity to taste one. 11:00 at night, in a smoky stinky kitchen, I ate. Mmmmm. There is absolutely NO comparison between a warm, made-from-scratch croissant and a store-bought one. The time and elbow-grease required of these babies is great, but the results are so worth it.
If you're up to the challenge, you can find the recipe on Amanda's beautiful blog! Read here! Thanks for hosting this week's challenge, Amanda!