Piping hot, straight out of the oven, the fresh, flaky taste of rich butter and sweet chocolate is worth the hard work croissants take.
Croissants are a true labor of love. A two-day process involving successive folding, rolling and relaxing of the dough, the simple butter and flour mixture needs a lot of attention to turn into the perfect pastry sidekick for your morning cappuccino. This isn’t an everyday recipe, and enough local bakers produce quality croissants that it’s one of the few items generally acceptable to purchase on a regular basis. But there is something soothing in making this dough every once in a while, and adding it into your repertoire is sure to up your baking ante.
Croissant dough is similar to puff pastry; a yeast-leavened dough is wrapped around butter and folded several times to create layers in a process called lamination. When the dough bakes, the butter melts, creating air between the dough layers, causing the end product to puff up. My first real memory of making puff pastry comes from my time working as a pastry cook at Spago Beverly Hills. Puff pastry was in high demand- it was regularly used for a savory foie gras tart on the garde manger station, a dessert trio for large parties, and for dessert specials, like a farmer’s market fruit tart with champagne sabayon. That meant that making puff pastry was an important task: At any given time the dough was being made, chilled or rolled out on the bakeshop’s large sheeter- a machine that gently pushed the dough back and forth, making the process of rolling an extra-large batch slightly easier.