It is impossible to make croissants at home! Right?
Well I think so! Decent ones, anyway.
I did try to make croissants once but I have selectively cleared my mind of the details of that unfortunate experience. The complexity of the process and the dismal result warrant the jettisoning from the memory bank. Despite this memory cleansing, my love for the great artisan croissant continues undiminished. In France, of course, it is easy to find beautiful croissants. In Australia, if you look around, you can find some beauties too.
But here we are talking about the plain, unadorned croissant, albeit wonderfully buttery and crispy!
If making plain croissants is an impossibility then making almond croissants, not to mention hazelnut or chocolate ones, is even more impossible! Right?
A recent fortuitous reading of a newspaper supplement led me to realise that almond croissants are generally made from day old ones, which is even better if your local croissanterie sells off its leftover pastries at half price as closing time approaches. The article led me to a web link, then to experimenting with almond-filled croissants and almond-filled slices of brioche, adding some hazelnut meal and some chocolate.
The photos in this post are of my first attempt.
The subject of the article and the web link (see the end of this post) was Lune Croissanterie in Fitzroy, Melbourne. They are acclaimed for their range of baked delicacies.
Read the link and you will realise that making almond croissants, with extensions, is not just straightforward, but fun and spectacular as well. Follow their recipe exactly, but here are a few extra tips and comments:
- You don’t need to make your own croissants or brioche.
- My bought croissants were rather large ones, though good quality, each equivalent to two normal sized ones.
- One of our local supermarkets sells sweet brioche loaves. Using thick slices, we used the same filling and process to make almond filled brioche sandwiches.
- The only slightly complicated process is to make frangipane, a sweet ‘paste’ made from butter, sugar, almond meal (and/or hazelnut meal) and eggs. It should only take 5 to 10 minutes if you are organised.
- You could use just almond meal or just hazelnut meal or a mixture.
- You need to make a sugar syrup which is used to paint or drizzle over the inside of the pastries. However, also brush some over the tops of the brioche slices.
- If you don’t have a piping bag, simply spread the frangipane carefully.
- If desired, you can push some buddies or chunks of your favourite dark chocolate into the frangipane when you have spread it inside the pastries.
- Adjust the quantities as required, however, frangipane freezes well so you could make the full amount and freeze some in small containers for later croissant extravaganzas.
- Serve warm (but not hot) or serve cold. Cold ones can be reheated.
- The brioche sandwiches proved just as delicious as the filled croissants.
- In terms of difficulty, this is about 2 out of 5: not difficult.
Cut them into manageable sizes if you wish and watch the filling ooze and your guests’ eyes widen!
For the web link (includes recipe), click here: Lune’s Almond Croissant
For a pdf of the web link (includes recipe), click here: Lune’s Almond Croissant
If you have something that you believe is impossible (read ‘very difficult’) to do at home, please be in touch, especially if you can provide your method, (good quality photos if you have any) and why it turned out so well.