RECIPE: I have several recipes for croissants and all quite different. I was all set to make Julia Child’s recipe given she is lauded as the expert in French cookery, and with a recipe 12 pages long I figured I couldn’t make a mistake. An online review thought her recipe had several issues which they believed stemmed from Julia making compromises for the home cook. On the other hand Bourke Street Bakery has been pretty reliable, so I used theirs instead. There were lots of instructions but no images, which might have helped in understanding the steps. I peeked at my other recipes with images for guidance on the folding – I’m a visual person.
COMPONENTS: So much chilling, resting and waiting! Everything was fairly straightforward, it was just getting the pastry rolled out to the right length. I could probably have done with more resting time to cool the pastry again for each step. I seemed to get a good amount of lamination though, so perhaps near enough on the rolling out was good enough. I was lucky enough to have a day no warmer than 25 degrees, but cooler would have been easier. Apparently a heavy stone rolling pin cooled in the fridge each time is also helpful. After several rolls, a small amount of butter came out the sides and through the occasional hole in the pastry. It didn’t seem to matter to the results (no butter was lost), but it did make it a bit harder to roll because the pastry was greasy. I began to see the thin layers in the final roll, when it began to peel off with my rolling pin. I successfully used my pastry mat again and so didn’t need to flour the bench.
ASSEMBLY: I think I would have been better off resting the pastry in the fridge for a while after the final roll out to one metre long (I struggled for bench space!). By the time I cut the pastry into triangles the pastry was getting soft and shrinking in size so I had to press out each triangle before rolling. I was surprised how much they increased in size during the final rise after rolling them into their final shape.
IMPRESSION: These croissants were lovely and I’m still surprised that the entire batch worked. I usually give away my baking, but not this time as they took so long to make! They freeze well, but you can’t beat eating them straight out of the oven. These were much easier than I expected, and it’s achievable to make them in one (well-organised) day while you’re doing other stuff around the house.
Recipe from Bourke Street Bakery by Paul Allam