Argentine medialunas are unlike French croissants in that they are generally smaller and the pastry is not as flaky. They're much closer to the Italian ‘cornetti’ with a slightly denser, brioche-like texture.
- 2 tbsp plus 1 tsp sugar
- 60 ml (2 fl oz/¼ cup) warm water
- 1 tbsp dried yeast granules
- 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) full-cream (whole) milk
- 300 g (10½ oz/2 cups) plus 1 tsp plain (all-purpose) flour, plus extra for dusting
- pinch of sea salt
- 2 eggs, at room temperature, beaten, plus 1 egg, beaten with 1 tsp water
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
- 100 g (3½ oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Rising time: 3-4 hours
Chilling time: 7-11 hours
1. Combine the 1 teaspoon of sugar, the warm water and yeast in a small bowl or jug. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 10 minutes, or until the mixture is frothy.
2. Heat the milk in a small saucepan over low heat, until it feels slightly warm to the touch. Remove from the heat.
3. Combine the remaining sugar, the 2 cups of flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. With the motor running, add the yeast mixture, warm milk, the two beaten eggs and the vegetable oil and knead for 8–10 minutes, until smooth and elastic.
4. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 2–3 hours, until the dough has tripled in size.
5. On a lightly floured work surface, punch the dough to flatten it and roll into a 40 cm x 30 cm (16 in x 12 in) rectangle.
6. Using electric beaters, beat the butter and 1 teaspoon of flour until smooth and well combined. Spread the softened butter mixture evenly over one half of the dough, leaving a 1.5-cm (½ in) border around the edges. Fold over the unbuttered side of dough and press firmly around the edges to seal. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2–3 hours, until completely chilled.
7. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into another 40 cm x 30 cm (16 in x 12 in) rectangle. This time, fold the dough lengthways into thirds, like a letter. Wrap again in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a further 2–3 hours. Repeat this step once more.
8. Again on a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 50 cm x 40 cm (20 in x 16 in) rectangle. Fold one end of the dough into the centre, then fold the other end in to meet it. Now fold the dough over, like closing a book. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
9. Remove the dough from the fridge and roll on a sheet of baking paper to a 2 mm (1⁄16 in) thick, 48 cm x 30 cm (19 in x 12 in) rectangle. Use the baking paper to transfer the dough onto a large baking tray and refrigerate (the dough needs to be firm to cut and roll).
10. Cut the chilled dough lengthways into two 48 cm x 15 cm (19 in x 6 in) rectangles. Return one half to the fridge.
11. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
12. Use a ruler to mark 12 cm (4¾ in) points along the longer edge of the dough. These will form the base of the medialunas. Using the markers as a guide, cut equal-length triangles from the dough. Starting at the base of each triangle, firmly roll the dough towards the point. Twist the ends to form a crescent shape and transfer to the baking tray. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm spot for at least 1 hour, until they have risen. Repeat with the remaining dough. At this stage, the medialunas can be frozen.
13. Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F).
14. Brush the egg wash over the tops of the medialunas and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, until golden. Serve warm with your choice of savoury or sweet filling. They are best eaten on the day they are baked.
Recipe from The Food of Argentina by Ross Dobson and Rachel Tolosa Paz, Smith Street Books, RRP $44.99