This recipe doesn’t make traditional croissants, but more of a beautiful cross between a kanelbulle (Swedish cinnamon bun) and a croissant. They’re soft and slightly flaky, as I only give the dough two ‘simple turns’, as opposed to my usual croissant routine of three. In fact, a look inside will give it away: the membranes are thicker, and cinnamon speckles dot them throughout.
- 1 egg, beaten, for eggwash
Détrempe (dough packet)
- 300 g (2 cups) strong (00) flour
- 200 g (1⅓ cups) plain flour
- 80 g caster sugar
- 12 g dried yeast
- 10 g milk powder
- 10 g sea salt
- 250 ml (1 cup) cold water
- 45 g butter, melted, cooled
- 300 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
- pinch of ground cardamom (optional)
- 200 g icing sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
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.
Resting time 3 hours
Chilling time 7 hours
You will need to begin this recipe 1 day ahead.
To make the dough, combine the flours, sugar, yeast, milk powder and salt in a large bowl. Add the cold water and butter, and stir until a dough starts to form. Transfer the dough to a clean work surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough feels elastic and smooth. Place the dough back in the bowl and cover tightly in plastic wrap. Leave in a warmish place to rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size. When it’s ready, it will be very smooth and elastic.
While the yeast is working in magic, work yours with the cinnamon butter. In a bowl, combine the soft butter with the ground cinnamon, and cardamom, if desired. Place the butter mixture on a sheet of baking paper and top with another sheet, then roll out to a rough 40 cm x 30 cm rectangle. Transfer to a baking tray and chill in the fridge for 4–5 hours to firm. Now, have a cup of coffee. And kisses. And, maybe, even tickles down your neck. I highly recommend the latter. That’s what dreamy Sundays are made of.
Once the dough has proved, place on a lightly floured work surface and roll out into a rough rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for 25 minutes to stop the action of the yeast. Transfer to the fridge and let it be for 3 hours.
It may be tea time now for some, but it’s feuilletage for others. I can’t help but feel a little sad for the former who’ll never know the calmness only rolling dough can bring. Remove the cinnamon butter sheet from the fridge to soften ever so slightly. Meanwhile, place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and roll out to a 40 cm x 60 cm rectangle. Flour more as needed but always make sure to brush off the excess afterwards.
Place the butter sheet on the lower half of the dough, stretching it so so that it covers the lower half of the dough, then fold the upper half of the dough over the butter. Flatten the dough with your hands to get rid of any air bubbles, then rotate counter-clockwise so that you have a ‘book’ with its spine on your left hand-side.
Roll out the dough to 7 mm-thick. To do this, I like to press my rolling pin into the dough to create some indents. This step, if done gently yet with sufficient pressure, distributes the butter evenly. Then, I start rolling the dough in long movements, from the centre up and then from the centre down. These two techniques can be applied to any laminated dough. If the dough starts to stick, don’t hesitate to flour your work surface and reposition the dough.
Brush off the excess flour, then fold the dough in three, like you would do with a letter. This is called a tour simple or simple turn. Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge for at least 1 hour to rest.
Repeat the process, rolling out the dough to 7 mm-thick, then folding in three. Then, wrap in plastic wrap and return to the fridge for 1 hour. (If you want a flakier texture, I would advise another tour simple now.)
Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Line 2 baking trays with baking paper. Roll out the laminated dough on a lightly floured work surface to a rough 30 cm-wide rectangle. Cut the dough in half and place one half on one of the prepared trays. Chill while you get on with the other dough half.
Keep on rolling the dough half, maintaining a width of around 30 cm, until it’s about 4 mm-thick. Cut triangles using a sharp knife, making sure the bases are 8–10 cm wide. As you cut the triangles, place on the second prepared tray and refrigerate until needed. Repeat the rolling and cutting process with the other dough half.
Line another 2 baking trays with baking paper. Working with 2 dough triangles at a time, take out of the fridge and gently stretch, then roll up gently (don’t put any pressure). Place the croissants generously spaced out on the prepared baking tray with the ‘point’ underneath.
Layer 2 large pieces of plastic wrap, removing any air bubbles, and lightly brush with vegetable oil. Place oiled-side down on top of your croissants to cover loosely. Allow to prove at room temperature for 2 hours or until wobbly and doubled in size. (If the butter starts leaking, you might want to find a slightly cooler place to prove your croissants. If I’m at the restaurant, then 26ºC is the temperature I go for (with 65% humidity for the ones of you who are lucky enough to have a prover).
Brush gently with a beaten egg, making sure not to put any eggwash on the cut edges (this would prevent the rise of the feuilletage (flaky layers)).
Bake the croissants for 17–20 minutes or until golden brown and feel light. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.
To make the glaze, in a bowl, mix the icing sugar with enough boiling water to form a pourable icing. Stir in the vanilla seeds, then drizzle over the croissants.