Tuesday, September 27, 2011

This is my second and much anticipated attempt at laminated dough after the vol-au-vent challenge but still not quite successful in terms of volume and flakiness (probably short proofing time in high room temperature). However the flavor was excactly what someone could ask from a buttery, sweet-savory, crispy crusted and soft centered croissant and goes perfectly well with the apricot-chocolate filling recipe given bellow.

           450gr                                                             bread flour
           260gr                                                             milk
           75gr                                                               sugar
           10gr                                                               salt
           10gr                                                               instant yeast
           300gr                                                             butter
           1                                                                    egg

           Apricot cream filling
           240gr                                                             dried apricots
           480ml                                                            orange juice
           130gr                                                             sugar
           60gr                                                               butter
           100-150gr                                                       chocolate chunks

I suggest that you make the apricot cream one day before filling so that it's completely cool and set when need to be used. For start, simmer the dried apricots and juice for about 25min, melt in the butter, add the sugar and set aside at room temperature. As soon as it gets lukewarm, mash it in a blender and refrigerate for a few hours. Then proceed with the dough and warm the milk to  approximately 32C. Dissolve in the yeast, mix the dry ingredients together and combine the two mixtures into a dough. Knead the dough for about 10min and let it rest for 1h until doubled in size.  Meanwhile prepare the butter by cutting 1cm thick slices from your butter pack and placing them on a silicone mat (or a piece of parchment paper) in the form of a 13x18cm rectangle. Cover with plastic wrap and when the butter has quite soften, roll it into a homogenous piece of slightly smaller thickness and chill. 

When the dough is ready, punch it down and roll it on a floured surface into a rectangle with length double of the butter block's small dimension and width equal to it's bigger one. Place the unwrapped butter on top in a way that it can be covered completely by the dough and enclose it, sealing the sides. Roll the dough block into a 12cm thick, long rectangle and fold it creating one layer with each one of the block's thirds. At this point, wrap well in plastic and chill for about 30min. Then roll the folded dough to combine its layers, fold in thirds again and refrigerate. After another 30min repeat the same process and when the waiting time ends, make a final roll and leave the dough overnight in fridge and wrapped well in plastic.

This portion makes about 15 croissants. To shape them, cut the dough into thirds and roll them to 6mm thick rectangles. Cut each of them into 5 triangles and roll them from base to top into crescents spreading some apricot filling on their inner surface. Complete the filling with the chocolate chunks, roll and proof in room temperature until doubled or for at least 5hours in fridge. I guess that the melted butter as a result of the warm proofing environment that I worked in is something you'd want to avoid for better volume and flakiness. Finally bake at a preheated oven to 190C for 15-20min and optionally brush with some simple syrup made as described in previous posts such as ''Kirsch torte''.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

  Tart dough
  300gr                                                                         flour
  150gr                                                                         butter, cold
  100gr                                                                         powdered sugar
  1                                                                               egg
  as prefered                                                                lemon zest and vanilla powder

  Lemon pastry cream
  300gr                                                                         milk
  150gr                                                                         heavy cream
  50gr                                                                           lemon juice
  100gr                                                                         granulated sugar
  1                                                                               egg
  3                                                                               egg yolks
  50gr                                                                           corn flour
  as preferred                                                               lemon zest and vanilla bean

  Coconut frangipane
  80gr                                                                           butter, room temperature
  90gr                                                                           powdered sugar
  100gr                                                                         almond flour
  2                                                                               eggs
  30gr                                                                           flour
  50gr                                                                           shredded coconut

  Italian meringue
  80gr                                                                           granulated sugar
  15gr                                                                           glucose
  23gr                                                                           water
  60gr                                                                           egg whites

For start, prepare the tart dough by cutting the butter into the flour and then simply adding the rest of ingredients. Wrap the dough in plastic and chill until quite hard. Meanwhile proceed with the pastry cream and combine milk with cream, zest, vanilla and half of the sugar in a saucepan over medium heat. Whip the eggs with the rest of the sugar and corn flour until homogenous and stir in the lemon juice. As soon as the milk gets quite hot, pour one third of it in the egg mixture stirring constantly and then return it to the saucepan whisking until thick.

As soon as the cream starts boiling, remove from the heat and let cool. For the coconut frangipane that you can keep for days in fridge and use as filling for any tart, beat butter with sugar until creamy and add the eggs. Stir in the rest of the ingredients and set aside. Remove the tart dough from fridge and use a rolling pin to make shells for about one 20cm-diameter tart ring and nine muffin tins. Dot the bottom dough with a fork and preferably place a foil piece filled with beans or rice inside the larger tart shell to prevent rising.

Bake at a preheated oven to 170C for 15min with the bean filling and for another 5min without it. Fill the half-baked shells with a layer of coconut cream and bake for about 20-25min until golden on top. Spread the lemon pastry cream over the coconut filling and prepare the meringue. Boil water with glucose and 70gr sugar and as soon as it reaches 100C, start whisking the whites adding gradually the rest of the sugar. When the whites are quite foamy and the syrup is at 120C, pour it in the meringue and keep whisking until it cools down and feels slightly warm to the touch.

Fill with the meringue a pastry bag and empty it over the surface of the tarts in varius shapes. Finally burn the meringue picks with a blow torch and garnish with lemon zest, shredded coconut, chopped almonds, white chocolate shavings, or anything you come up with.