Last time my boyfriend and I went out for croissants, we jumped on a borrowed moped, sea sand in our toes, the wind in our hair and one helmet between us … Upon entering the buzzy Food Barn I halted in my tracks – there was a baker rolling up croissants, something I’d never witnessed before. It looked like an art form, something that took years of practise. I had no idea we’d be doing the same thing a couple of weeks later at chef school… sans the grace and style… and sans the butter content!
We substituted sweet potato for butter which resulted in a bready type croissant… not quite my cup of tea (a croissant HAS to be buttery and flaky, nes paux ?)… but great if you’re looking for a ‘healthier’ version.
Ingredients for sweet potato dough (makes 48 small croissants):
1000 grams cake flour (1kg)
60 grams fresh yeast
40 g castor sugar
2 tablespoons salt ie. 30 grams
150 g butter
250 g sweet potatoes (boiled and drained)
400 ml luke warm water
How to make the dough:
Sieve flour and rub in yeast into the flour (rub in from a height with fingertips)
Rub in butter (rub in from a height with fingertips)
Add sugar and salt and sweet potato (you can also add the sweet potato into the well in the next step)
Make a well and add the eggs and water
Work the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients
Knead the dough while rolling in at the same time and also throwing the dough down flat as you knead… until you feel a silky texture – work into a ball shape
Place in a bowl and cover with cling film and a cloth
Put next to a warm stove until the dough has risen to twice the size (the longer you leave it the more it will rise)… leave it for half an hour or so (depending on the weather) – then refridgerate for 15 minutes so that the dough can rest before you roll it
HOW TO MAKE CROISSANTS:
Cut dough into quarters (cut the ball in half and cut those halves in half again)
Roll each section out into a round shape (ours were very lopsided!)
Cut into twelve pieces PIZZA STYLE so that you are left with 12 triangle shapes
How to make a plain croissant:
Take the longer end of the triangle and stretch it out as you roll it down towards the end point.
Glaze the corner with egg wash and push it down onto the croissant
Glaze the top of the croissant with egg wash (on a seperate baking tray or counter)
Place on a baking tray and bake until golden brown.
How to fill a croissant:
Sweet – Place almond paste (in which case you could add two teaspoons of lemon extract to the dough) or chocolate chips (or Nutella) at the top middle section of the croissant before you roll it. Don’t forget to egg wash the corner to secure it in place. Brush with icing glaze.
Savoury – place a piece of bacon down the length of the triangle and roll it up, securing the corner with egg wash.
We were shown an alternative version – a laminated version which uses the same sweet potato dough recipe but includes 350 g of butter. This laminated, more buttery version will be posted next!