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Makes 15 Cakes, Bread and Pastries
If you can, prove your pastries in an enclosed space such as a cupboard or your oven (turned off) to stop them drying out. Croissant dough does not freeze very
well. My advice is to bake all the pastries on the day.
To make the dough:
Using an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, mix the flour, sugar, salt and yeast on low speed until well combined. Gradually add the milk and mix for 5 minutes. At this stage the dough should be firm but not dry. If the mixture looks too hard or if your mixer finds it hard to mix properly, add 1-2 tbsp extra milk to soften it up (this is because some types of flour have different rates of absorption and may require more liquid than others).
After 5 minutes, increase the speed slightly and mix for another 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and comes away from the side of the bowl. Be careful when increasing the speed of your mixer; this dough can be hard on small mixers, so if you feel like your mixer is struggling, reduce the speed and mix for a few minutes longer.
Stop the mixer, remove the dough and place in a bowl. Lightly dust with flour and cover with a clean cloth. Set aside in a warm place for the first prove (pointage) for 1 hour, or until increased in size by half. Always check on how fast your dough is proving. The first prove is meant to stimulate the yeast only, so as soon as the dough increases by roughly half of its original size, transfer to a tray lined with baking paper. Flatten the dough over the tray as much as you can to remove as many gas bubbles as possible. Cover the tray with cling film and refrigerate on the top shelf for at least 1 hour.
When the dough (détrempe) is cold, you will need to prepare the butter for the laminating process. This involves pounding the cold butter into a rectangle roughly half the size of your dough. To do this, place the block of cold butter on a piece of baking paper, cover with another piece of baking paper and use a rolling pin to pound the butter, turning it regularly by 90 degrees, into a rectangle about 18cm x 20 cm. Cover the butter in cling film and set aside.
Place the dough on a lightly floured work surface and dust the top with flour. Roll the dough from the middle all the way to the edges into a 20cm x 35cm rectangle. Keep moving the dough and dusting with a little extra flour to stop it sticking (be frugal with the flour you use during this process). If you can’t roll your dough out to the exact dimensions, use your hands to stretch it into shape. Rotate the dough 90 degrees.
Unwrap the butter and place it in the centre of the dough rectangle. Fold both ends of the dough over the top so they meet in the middle of the butter and pinch the ends together. You should end up with a 20cm x 18cm rectangle, with butter exposed at two ends, and a tightly sealed seam over the top.
With one short end facing you, begin rolling the dough from the middle to the top, flouring as needed. Rotate the block 180 degrees and repeat the process until you have a rectangle that measures about 20cm x 65 cm. Fold one-third of the rectangle over the middle of the block, then fold the other end over the top. This will give you a single turn.
During the process of ‘turning’, make sure that you maintain your original rectangular shape either by gently rolling or stretching the dough into shape, as this will ensure an even distribution of butter throughout the croissant. Use your finger to mark one dot in the dough, as a reminder that this is the first turn. (Increase the number of dots for subsequent turns.) Cover the dough in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour, or until the butter is firm.
The next and final turn is a double turn, or book turn, and for this the dough will need to be rolled out thinner to accommodate the additional fold. Repeat the process as for the first turn but continue rolling until you get a larger rectangle measuring 20cm x 90cm. Once you have rolled and stretched the dough into the correct dimension, fold both ends up to meet in the middle of the rectangle, then fold it in half again to end up with a block roughly the original size of the butter.
Wrap the croissant dough (pâton) in cling film and refrigerate for 2 hours. Resting the dough in the fridge enables the gluten (protein in the flour) to relax and also helps the butter harden. This not only makes it a lot easier to work with the dough but also ensures the butter isn’t absorbed into the thin layers of dough, which would effectively negate most of the work you have just done.
To make the pistachio cream:
Using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed, scraping down the side of the bowl with a spatula, until creamy and smooth. Reduce the speed to low, then add the egg and egg yolk one at a time, making sure each addition is fully absorbed before adding the next.
Add the ground pistachios, almonds and flour. Beat until just combined, then increase the speed to medium and continue to beat until light and fluffy. Add the kirsch and beat until smooth and well combined.
Transfer to a bowl, cover the surface with a piece of cling film to prevent a skin from forming, then refrigerate for up to 7 days.
To make the swirls:
Following the method in the Croissant Dough recipe (above), roll out the croissant dough on a lightly floured work surface into a 25cm x 50cm rectangle, dusting with extra flour when needed to ensure the dough doesn’t stick to the surface. The sticking creates resistance, which means you will need to apply more pressure, damaging the delicate layers of butter in the dough. If you haven’t achieved a perfect rectangle with your rolling pin towards the end of the process, simply stretch and pull the dough into shape using your hands.
Line two baking trays with baking paper and set aside. Before you begin cutting your rolled-out dough, fluff it up by running your hands underneath it and lifting it up gently on all sides. This allows the gluten time to relax and stops your cut pieces from shrinking and losing their shape during the cutting process.
With one long side nearest to you, spread the pistachio cream all over the dough, right up to the edges, then sprinkle the frozen raspberries evenly over the cream. Starting from the top left-hand corner of the dough and working your way across to the top right- hand corner, roll the dough into a tight log. Using a large knife, cut the log into 3-4 cm-thick rolls and place on the lined trays, leaving a 10cm gap between each. Cover with a damp cloth and place in a warm place to prove for 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/ Gas 4. Lightly beat the eggs and a pinch of salt together in a small bowl and set aside for 5 minutes. To check if your pastries are ready to bake, poke them with your index finger; they should feel soft but still elastic. If the pastry doesn’t bounce back, they are probably slightly overproved, so next time it’s a good idea to check on their progress towards the end of the recommended proving time.
Brush the egg wash generously over the top of each roll and bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 25 minutes, or until the bases are golden. If the tops are browning too quickly, cover loosely with a piece of foil and continue baking until ready. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes. If you like, sprinkle with finely chopped pistachios and raspberries before serving.
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