In other more positive news, I have finished my Christmas shopping - and a few weeks early this year! I completely spoiled Sebastian, I just couldn't help myself. The tree is mostly filled with gifts for him, and I'm not quite sure that he is going to understand, or even be interested in his gifts - he'll probably find more joy in the wrapping paper and boxes, but nevertheless, it was so fun for me! I got Brent the most amazing gift, and I can't wait for him to open it. And if I can kick this nasty cold, it is going to be a wonderfully magical day.
Every year I try and make something special for Christmas morning breakfast, and I don't mean pouring the oj and champagne into a wine glass. There was the year I attempted an apple cinnamon upside down french toast sort of dish that turned out much better than I had anticipated. The year I made savory cheese waffles with avocado. This year I wanted to make some sort of pastry, and because croissants are one of Sebastian's favorite foods, I thought they would be perfect. Although, this kid has pretty high standards. He will only eat the really good, super flaky croissants from the fancy bakeries around town. I've even done some experimentations. We went to the mall last weekend to take some Santa photos - which didn't turn out great because I don't think Sebastian likes Santa. Anyways, we went to some mediocre bakery and I ordered him a croissant and when it came he refused to eat it. I tried it, and it was pretty terrible - but I thought kids were supposed to eat everything, including dirt and sand?
Now I have to step up my croissant game, because if Sebastian refuses to eat them, I know they've got to be terrible. So last week I made a few trial batches of croissants, and one of the batches I stuffed with raspberries and brie and he absolutely adored them. One of my favorite holiday appetizers is baked brie and raspberries served with warm bread or crackers. I got the idea to turn this dish into a croissant, which is really streamlining the whole snack. Instead of scooping the brie and raspberries onto a piece of bread possibly spilling everything onto the floor, you now have brie and raspberries tucked into a warm flaky pastry, which is just a vehicle to get all of that deliciousness into your mouth. Croissants are a labor intensive project. They take time and dedication, but if you've ever had a warm croissant right from the oven, then you know that it is completely worth the time and effort.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
RASPBERRY AND BRIE STUFFED CROISSANTS
recipe adapted from epicurious
recipe adapted from epicurious
prep time: 1 day
cooking time: 40 minutes
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 tbsp + 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
3 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp salt
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, chilled
2 cups fresh raspberries
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp cornstarch
1 large egg
1 tbsp water
In a small saucepan, warm the milk to 105ºF - 110ºF.
Add the milk, brown sugar, and yeast to the bowl of a stand mixer. Let the yeast proof for 5 minutes. Add the flour and salt and mix with the dough hook until smooth, soft, and slightly sticky. Do not over-mix the dough, the gluten will become too strong, and the dough will be difficult to roll.
Remove the dough from the bowl, and knead into a 1 1/2 inch thick rectangle. You may need to dust the counter with flour so the dough does not stick. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and place in the fridge for an hour.
While the dough is chilling, cut the butter into 1/4 inch pieces. Arrange the cold butter on a piece of parchment paper into an 8 x 5-inch rectangle. Place another piece of parchment paper on top and pound the butter with a rolling pin until it is evenly distributed and level. Remove the top piece of parchment paper and trim the edges of the butter into an 8 x 5-inch triangle. Place the extra bits on top and continue pounding and trimming until you have an even 8 x 5-inch triangle. Place in the fridge to chill.
Remove the dough from the fridge and roll into a 16 x 10-inch rectangle, dusting the counter as necessary. Arrange the dough vertically, with the short side facing you. Brush away any excess flour. Remove the butter from the fridge and place in the center of the dough, horizontally, long side facing you. Fold the top 1/3 of the dough over the butter, and then the bottom 1/3 of dough over the butter. Like you're folding a letter.
Arrange the dough vertically, so that the short side is facing you. Flatten the dough by pressing down horizontally making uniform impressions. Roll the dough into a 15 x 10-inch rectangle. Brush off any excess flour. Fold the dough into thirds like a letter, just as you did above. You should now have a 10 x 5-inch rectangle. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour. Repeat this process three more times, a total of 4 folds. Once finished, wrap the dough with Saran wrap and place it in the fridge overnight from 8 - 18 hours. Do not exceed 18 hours.
Place the raspberries into a bowl with the sugar and cornstarch. Stir, mashing them against the side of the bowl. Set to the side.
Remove the rind from the brie and then cut the brie into 1-inch cubes.
Remove the dough from the fridge and cut in half. Wrap the second piece of dough in Saran wrap and set to the side. Roll the dough into a 22 x 8-inch rectangle. Arrange the dough vertically, short side facing you. Cut the dough horizontally into 4 - 5 1/2 x 8-inch pieces. Then cut each piece diagonally from the top left corner to the bottom right corner. You should be left with 8 triangles. Take one of the triangles and place it in front of you, bottom facing you. Place a small piece of cheese and a tbsp of raspberries onto the triangle closest to the bottom. Starting at the bottom, roll the dough over the filling to the top and then tuck the point under and pull the two side to meet each other. Place the croissant onto a parchment lined baking sheet and cover with a damp cloth. Repeat this process until you have 16 croissants. Let them rise for 1 hour covered.
Heat the oven to 425ºF. Brush the croissants with an egg wash (1 egg + 1 tbsp water). Place the croissants into the oven and bake for 18 minutes rotating half way, until medium brown and flaky. Remove and let cool.
If you're more of a visual person like myself, here is a great tutorial to accompany these directions.