Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Recipes- French Style Croissants Made In The Country

One of my long-standing food memories is of my Mom Karen making croissants.  These are THE. BEST.
I can clearly see in my mind her making them so I was glad that this Christmas I got a chance to photograph her at least at the tail end so that the grandkids will have the memories (and recipe), too!
Quick Butter Croissants
Pulled from an old cookbook
"We have discovered a remarkably simple method of making croissants that closely resemble the traditional ones the French serve for breakfast.  You cut firm butter into flour (as you would when making baking powder biscuits), then blend this mixture with a yeast batter.  The resulting dough is marbled with pockets of butter that form flaky layers when the croissants are baked.  You can store the dough in the refrigerator up to 4 days, until you're ready to shape and bake the rolls."

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (about 110*)
3/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
5 1/4 to 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled
1 cup (1/2 lb) firm butter or margarine, at refrigerator temperature
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water.  Add milk, salt, sugar, egg and 1 cup of the flour.  Beat to make a smooth batter, then blend in melted butter; set aside
In a large bowl, using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the 1 cup firm butter into 4 cups of the remaining flour until butter particles are the size of peas.  Pour yeast batter over top and carefully turn mixture over with a spatula to blend just until all flour is moistened.  Cover with clear plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 4 days.
Turn dough out onto a floured board, press into a compact ball, and knead briefly on a lightly floured board to release air.  Divide dough into 4 equal parts.  Shape 1 part at a time, leaving remaining dough, wrapped in plastic wrap, in refrigerator.  
On a floured board, roll 1 part of dough at a time into a circle, 17" diameter.  Using a sharp knife, cut circle into 8 equal wedges.
For each croissant, loosely roll wedges toward point.  Shape each roll into a crescent and place on an ungreased baking sheet with point down, 1 1/2" apart all around.  

Cover lightly and let rise at room temperature in a draft-free place.  (Do NOT speed rising of rolls by placing them in a warm spot.) 
When almost doubled (about 2 hours), brush with egg-water mixture.
Bake in a 325* oven for about 35 minutes or until lightly browned.  Serve warm, or let cool on racks.  Makes 32 croissants.
To reheat, arrange rolls (thawed, if frozen) in single layer on baking sheet; place, uncovered, in a 350* oven for about 10 minutes.

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