Daring Baker’s Challenge: Almond Frangipane Croissants and Homemade Chunky Plum Jam

This month’s Daring Baker’s Challenge was more challenging that I thought. When I first saw Sarah’s challenge for us to bake croissants with Julia Child’s recipe, it was eagerly anticipated. Our household is big on croissants, yet I have never tried my hands on this laminated dough before, either due to lack of time or pure complacence as they are so readily available from even the shop opposite our house. In fact I doubt if croissants would ever be in my baking radar at this hectic junction of life, if it wasn’t for the Daring Baker’s challenge.
I eagerly donned my apron one fine weekend but lo and behold, my first attempt with half bread flour-half plain flour only left me in tears..they were a major flop!! The butter was too soft, and the dough was too sticky that it collapsed..and I really felt like giving up…
But No. Try again, I must. Now this has become a real challenge. The very next day, I tried again using bread flour exclusively, and chilled French butter. The result this time was exceptionally buttery yet light croissants, it really did compensate for my first failure. I also learnt my lesson not to meddle with the recipe and to keep a good stock of bread flour in the cupboard for next time!
From kneading to actual baking, it took me almost 6 1/2 hours. I decided to whip up my favourite chunky plum jam whilst waiting for the final rise, as after all, I might as well make full use of my presence in the kitchen. To bring the flavour up a notch, the croissants were filled with frangipane and sprinkled with almond flakes. Although we intended to leave some for breakfast the next day, half were already gone in a jiffy as they came out fresh from the oven. The plum jam was just a match made in heaven, perfect for the almond croissants.
The recipe for plain croissant is courtesy of Sarah, originally a Julia Child’s creation.I modified with addition of frangipane and almond flakes. And the plum jam? That is just my humble recipe, a wobbly, semi-set jam with chunky plum pieces, a favourite in my family.

Almond Frangipane Croissants
makes 12 croissants
Ingredients
 1¼ teaspoon dry-active yeast (about ½ sachet)
3 tablespoons warm water
1 teaspoon  sugar
225 g strong plain flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1½ teaspoon salt
½ cup  milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
120g unsalted butter
1 egg, for egg wash

Directions:

1. Mix the yeast, warm water, and first teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl. Leave aside for the yeast and sugar to dissolve and the yeast to foam up a little.
2. Measure out the other ingredients
3. Heat the milk until tepid (either in the microwave or a saucepan), and dissolve in the salt and remaining sugar
4. Place the flour in a large bowl.
5. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and milk mixture to the flour.
6. Mix all the ingredients together using the rubber spatula, just until all the flour is incorporated
7. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and let it rest a minute while you wash out the bowl
8. Knead the dough and leave it to rise triple in size.
11. After the dough has tripled in size, remove it gently from the bowl, pulling it away from the sides of the bowl with your fingertips.
12. Place the dough on a lightly floured board or countertop, and use your hands to press it out into a rectangle about 8 by 12 inches (20cm by 30cm).
13. Fold the dough rectangle in three, like a letter (fold the top third down, and then the bottom third up)
14. Place the dough letter back in the bowl, and the bowl back in the plastic bag.
15. Leave the dough to rise for another 1.5 hours, or until it has doubled in size. This second rise can be done overnight in the fridge (Photo 9)
16. Place the double-risen dough onto a plate and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place the plate in the fridge while you prepare the butter.
17. Once the dough has doubled, it’s time to incorporate the butter.
18. Place the block of chilled butter on a chopping board.
19. Using the rolling pin, beat the butter down a little, till it is quite flat.
20. Use the heel of your hand to continue to spread the butter until it is smooth. You want the butter to stay cool, but spread easily.
21. Remove the dough from the fridge and place it on a lightly floured board or counter. Let it rest for a minute or two.
22. Spread the dough using your hands into a rectangle about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
23. Remove the butter from the board, and place it on the top half of the dough rectangle
24. Spread the butter all across the top two-thirds of the dough rectangle, but keep it ¼ inch (6 mm) across from all the edges.
25. Fold the top third of the dough down, and the bottom third of the dough up.
26. Turn the dough package 90 degrees, so that the top flap is to your right (like a book).
27. Roll out the dough package (gently, so you don’t push the butter out of the dough) until it is again about 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
28. Again, fold the top third down and the bottom third up.
29. Wrap the dough package in plastic wrap, and place it in the fridge for 2 hours. 
30. After two hours have passed, take the dough out of the fridge and place it again on the lightly floured board or counter.
31. Tap the dough with the rolling pin, to deflate it a little
32. Let the dough rest for 8 to 10 minutes
33. Roll the dough package out till it is 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
34. Fold in three, as before
35. Turn 90 degrees, and roll out again to 14 by 8 inches (35 cm by 20 cm).
36. Fold in three for the last time, wrap in plastic, and return the dough package to the fridge for two more hours (or overnight, with something heavy on top to stop it from rising)
37. It’s now time to cut the dough and shape the croissants
38. First, lightly butter your baking sheet so that it is ready
39. Take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest for ten minutes on the lightly floured board or counter
40. Roll the dough out into a 20 by 5 inch rectangle (51 cm by 12½ cm). (Photo 24)
41. Cut the dough into two rectangles (each 10 by 5 inches (25½ cm by 12½ cm)) (Photo 24)
42. Place one of the rectangles in the fridge, to keep the butter cold
43. Roll the second rectangle out until it is 15 by 5 inches (38 cm by 12½ cm).
44. Cut the rectangle into three squares (each 5 by 5 inches (12½ cm by 12½ cm))
45. Place two of the squares in the fridge
46. The remaining square may have shrunk up a little bit in the meantime. Roll it out again till it is nearly square
47. Cut the square diagonally into two triangles.
48. Stretch the triangle out a little, so it is not a right-angle triangle, but more of an isosceles.Spread the frangipane before rolling.
49. Starting at the wide end, roll the triangle up towards the point, and curve into a crescent shape.
50. Place the unbaked croissant on the baking sheet
51. Repeat the process with the remaining squares of dough, creating 12 croissants in total.
52. Leave the tray of croissants, covered lightly with plastic wrap, to rise for 1 hour
53. Preheat the oven to very hot 475°F/240°C/gas mark 9.
54. Mix the egg with a teaspoon of water
55. Spread the egg wash across the tops of the croissants and sprinkle with almond flakes.
56. Put the croissants in the oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the tops are browned nicely
57. Take the croissants out of the oven, and place them on a rack to cool for 10 minutes before serving. \

Frangipane
1/2 cup ground almond
1/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp flour

Mix all the ingredients together to form a smooth paste. Use this as filling in croissant prior to rolling.
 

Chunky Plum Jam
makes 3x 225 g jars

600g plums- cut into halves or chunks. do not peel
210 g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
juice from 1 lemon

Mix all above in a heavy bottomed pan and cook until the jam is almost set.
Sterilise the jars meanwhile by placing them in oven for 20 mins at 150 C.
Once the jam is set, store in jars. They last for at least 6 months if left unopened.
Once open, store in the fridge.

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Comments

  1. says

    So glad that you did the recipe twice and that you learnt so much from the experience. Marvellous croissant the colour is great. Cheers from Audax in Sydney Australia.

  2. says

    Rebecca: I’ve already added you in my FB, thanks..so I can see more of your cutie:-)

    Thank you for your lovely words, Joy and Kurryleaves.

    Audax: I’m still aspiring to reach your croissant perfection level, thanks a lot for all the tips on the forum, I found them very useful when I tried baking them again.

    Jay: I’m truly touched for the award, thanks a lot dear:-)

  3. says

    Croissants…my fav…home made..u hv some real patience to try it twice…61/2 hrs in kitchen…i deftly need some challenge to do that as well! Lovely croissants and lovely jam recipe…thx for sharing…

  4. says

    Farwin: Let me know how the jam making goes..I’m making a batch for my mom this week,as she loves the jam.

    Welcome to the blog Khushi!
    Thanks Aipi: Try it out, you wont regret all those hours kneading!
    Thanx Jenni,Hyma and Neha for the fab comments:-)

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