When I started baking through the recipes in Baking With Julia along with the Tuesdays With Dorie group of bloggers, I was looking forward to eventually tackling croissants. The croissant recipe was contributed and demonstrated by baker Esther McManus of the Le Bus bakeries in the Philadelphia area. I have a long-term relationship with Le Bus. As a graduate student in Philadelphia in the late 1970′s, I patronized Le Bus when it was housed in an actual bus and sold coffee and pastries near the U. of Penn. campus. I mostly remember the muffins. I stayed in the Philadelphia area after graduation and continued to visit Le Bus when they opened a storefront shop in the city, stopping for coffee and a chocolate croissant on my way to work. Years later it was rewarding to have Le Bus croissants’ quality confirmed when Julia Child selected them as the best.
My croissants however were not the best, mostly in the appearance department. They tasted great and were eaten quickly, but they were flattish and small. Although I cut the dough into triangles of the specified size, with a 3-4 inch base, the rolled triangles resulted in mini-croissants. That was actually okay, just not what I expected.
I have a couple of possible explanations for the flatness. Instead of compressed fresh yeast, I used active dry yeast – 1/4 ounce for half the recipe, and maybe that was too little. I also made half the recipe – and during the multiple rollings and foldings, I reduced the size of the rolled out rectangles, but not by half. Maybe the resulting dough/butter layers were too thin?
I got 20 mini-croissants from the 1/2 croissant dough recipe and made plain, almond, and chocolate versions. I used the almond filling recipe included and topped those with sliced almonds. For the chocolate croissants, I chopped some Green & Black’s dark chocolate and rolled it into the same crescent shape as the plain and almond croissants.
If you want to try your hand at croissants, you can find the recipe on pages 185-186 of Baking With Julia or on Amanda’s blog, Girl + Food = Love.