I’ve been feeling adventurous lately and have been going outside my comfort zone with baking.
I have never made croissants before because of how time consuming the process is and because of how important it is to get the technique right. Who wants to spend two days making something only to have it not turn out? Not me.
I decided that I was going to give it a try and, because that wasn’t enough of a challenge, I was going to make a fancy hybrid with a baklava twist. I mean, if you’re going to fail, fail big.
Can I just say, I had soooo much fun making these. Like, a ridiculous amount. I tossed and turned all night while the dough chilled in the fridge and even woke up super early so I could finish them!
I had my doubts along the way: was it supposed to look like that? would my recipe work? did I do everything correct?
Seeing the end result had me doing my happy dance. The dough was so flaky and crispy on the outside and soft with a bit of a chew on the inside, and the baklava filling and syrup put these over the top. I can hardly wait to make these again!
My advice for first timers to croissant making? Research it. Watch videos on Youtube and on food blogger sites. Read the recipe and instructions all the way through… several times. Be patient and don’t rush things.
1/2 cup warm water
4 tsp active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup lukewarm milk
1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp water
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Prepare dough – Stir together the 1/2 cup warm water and yeast. Let sit 5 minutes to activate.
In a large bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, and salt. Stir in the lukewarm milk and yeast mixture.
Stir until dough comes together. Add more flour, a Tbsp at a time if the dough is very sticky.
Turn onto a floured work surface and knead 4 minutes. Cover and let rest 15 minutes.
Roll to a 10 X 9 rectangle, cover with plastic wrap and chill dough for 30 minutes.
About 10 minutes before that time is up – roll your butter between 2 pieces of plastic wrap into a 6 X 8 1/2 rectangle and chill for 10 minutes. (Note – I sliced my cold butter into slices, laid them on a piece of plastic wrap and smushed them together with my fingers, then rolled them to be smoother. I chilled it for 15 minutes instead of 10 to ensure it was thoroughly chilled.)
Place dough on lightly floured work surface and roll to a 10 X 15 rectangle. Place butter on top, in the center.
Fold the sides over the butter and then the bottom and the top, pinching to seal the dough.
Flip dough over so seam is on the bottom. Roll the dough to a 10 X 15 rectangle (about 1/4 inch thick). Fold in 3 with the top covering the bottom fold.
Cover and place in fridge for at least an hour, up to 4 hours.
Do this 3 more times for a total of 4 “turns”. (Always start your roll with the short end towards you.)
On your last turn, cover well in plastic wrap and set in the fridge to chill overnight.
In the morning:
Prepare baklava filling – In a blender or food processor, pulse walnuts, sugar, and cinnamon until well combined. You can leave these as coarse as you like. Personally, I prefer mine quite fine.
Place the melted butter in a separate bowl.
Prepare egg wash – in a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and the milk. Set aside.
Remove your dough from the fridge. (Note – I don’t think it is supposed to rise quite this much. My recipe has more yeast than most croissant recipes so I believe that is why. It still works fabulously.)
On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough to a 13 X 24 rectangle (about 1/4 inch thick).
Cut into 5 inch wide strips. (Note – in the photo below I have turned the dough so it was easier to cut)
Then cut each strip into 2 triangles.
Brush each triangle with the melted butter. Then generously sprinkle on the baklava filling. (Use about 2/3rds of the filling and save the remaining 1/3rd for topping!)
Make a small cut in the wide part of each triangle. Starting at the wide end, roll up the croissant.
Place on a parchment paper lined cookie tray. Repeat with the remaining triangles. Make sure the point is tucked under the roll so it doesn’t unroll during cooking.
Cover with a tea towel and set somewhere free from drafts to proof for an hour (until doubled in size). While they are rising, preheat the oven to 400. (I usually set them on top of the stove to rise. You don’t want them to rise in a place that is too warm, like regular bread, as the butter will start to melt and you don’t want that!)
They should start to look very croissant-y.
While the croissants are rising, prepare the syrup – In a large saucepan, stir together the sugar, water, honey, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and then boil for 4 minutes, stirring every so often. After 4 minutes, remove from heat and set aside until croissants are done.
When the croissants have risen: brush the tops of them with the egg wash using a pastry or basting brush.
Bake at 400 for about 15 – 20 minutes, until tops are deep golden brown and they are puffy.
When the croissants come out of the oven, using a pastry or basting brush, liberally brush syrup on the tops. Then sprinkle with the remaining baklava walnut filling. I did one at a time so the syrup didn’t sink in and the filling would adhere better.
Remove to wire racks to cool.
So flaky and puffy.
Maybe not as puffy as some croissants but I have no complaints.
And the insides?
So much deliciousness. I cut this while it was still hot so it looks a little damp. It was not. It was the perfect amount of crispy and chewy.
I cut them into 5 inch wide strips and ended up with 9 giant croissants.
I’m definitely doubling this recipe next time. My taste testers gave rave reviews. I just love the sound when you bite into one or pull it apart – that crunch of a crispy exterior is exciting.
The baklava filling and syrup elevate this to the status of a fancy-schmancy croissant that needs to be made the new food trend.
Spread the word…. baklava croissants are “in” now.