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Monday, November 25, 2013

The Best Almond Croissant Recipe On Earth

Almond Croissant by Fran├žois Payard

Croissant dough:

Pastry flour: 1.7 cups
Baker flour: 1.7 cups
Sugar: 1/3 cup
Salt: 1 1/3 tbsp
Ameliorant: 1 tbsp
Yeast: 2.2 tbsp
Butter: 2 3/4 tbsp
Milk .85 cups
Water .85 cups
Butter for folding: 3 cups

Place the dry ingredients (pastry flour, baker’s flour, sugar, salt and ameliorant), yeast and room temperature butter in a mixing bowl. Add the milk and water on slow speed until the desired texture is reached. Knead 1 minute on second speed. Make one portion of dough of 1400 g and prepare a block of butter (700 g) for folding. Butter should be flattened into a square. Place the dough in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out. Place the butter (flattened into a square) in the middle of the dough. Fold the four edges of the dough in like an envelope. With a rolling pin give one turn to the dough or one fold. Place in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Give the dough a second turn. Place in plastic wrap and return to the refrigerator. Let the dough proof 2 hours. Take the dough out from the refrigerator and give the dough a third turn. After the third turn, roll the dough to a ¼ inch thickness or place through the sheeter machine at 2.5. Cut into 30 triangles.

Once you cut the triangles make a little cut in the middle of the base of the triangle and roll every croissant. Place the croissants on baking trays. Allow croissants to proof 45 minutes to 1 hour. Egg wash the croissants twice to give them a beautiful, shiny color. Bake for 12 minutes at 195°C. Once the croissants are cooked allow them to cool. Normally we always use the croissants from the day before to make the almond croissants. They need to be a little drier. The next day we slice the croissants in half and dip both halves in warm syrup (see recipe below). Fill the croissants with a mixture of pastry cream and almond cream.
Close the croissants. On the top we add a mixture almond cream and pastry cream and a few slices of almonds. Place the croissants on the silpat and bake again for 40 minutes at 180°C.

When the croissants come out of the oven we let cool down. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar for a beautiful and rustic look like my grandpa used to do in the old days.


Water: 2.1 cups
Sugar: 2.4 cups
Rum: 4 3/4 tbsp

This recipe may make a little extra syrup. We always have a little extra because it is difficult to know how much we will need depending on how dry the croissants are. The syrup can be reused the next day.

Almond Cream (1 kg):

Sugar 1.06 cups
Almond Flour 1.06 cups
Eggs 1.06 cups
Flour (all purpose) 2 tbsp
Vanilla Extract 1 tsp
Rum 2 tsp
Butter 1.06 cups

Place the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl with the paddle. Mix on medium speed until the mixture is well combined and smooth. Add the almond flour until well combined. Add the eggs in three stages, making sure that the eggs are incorporated before starting the next stage. Add the remaining ingredients. Make sure that the mixture is very smooth. Place in a container and refrigerate.

Pastry Cream (375 g):

Milk: 1.06 cups
Yolks 3 tbsp
Sugar 3 1/3 tbsp
Pastry Cream Powder: 1.6 tbsp
Butter 1/2 tbsp

Heat the milk in a sauce pan. Combine the sugar and the pastry cream powder. Whisk in the yolks to the sugar until they are light in color. Whisking rapidly, add about a ½ cup of the boiled milk to the egg yolks in order to equalize the temperature of the two ingredients. Pour the egg mixture back into the milk, scraping the bottom and sides of the pot constantly with a hand whisk to prevent lumping. Continue stirring vigorously for several minutes over medium high heat until the preparation thickens and boils. Turn off the heat and mix in the butter until it is smooth. Place the pastry cream in a container and cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface. Cool the pastry cream quickly by immersing the container in an ice bath.

The real process of making croissants at Payard is to make all the dough in the morning and then in afternoon we add the square of butter and give the dough two turns before leaving for the day. The next day we turn the dough a third time and then roll the croissants. This insures that the croissants are freshly made and rolled every morning for an incredible quality.

Do's And Don'ts Of Art Collecting

DO some homework. Check out exhibitions, prices, and, most of all, what the artist creates that might interest you. The Internet has changed everything. Most of the time, it is easy to research an artist via a website.

DON'T make a gallery owner your art advisor. Galleries are great places to visit, but remember that gallery owners are in the business of selling. They will be high on their wares no matter what. Avoid the hard sell, the promise of how prices for the artist's work will surely soar, the "better get one now" pitch… that sort of stuff. No one can predict an artist's market.

DO some traveling. There is nothing wrong with living in Kansas and buying art at a local art gallery. But if you strive to put together a collection of beauty, interest, and value, you must go to New York City. Since WWII, Manhattan has been the hub of the art world, and every artist longs to exhibit there. Want to find new and exciting talent? All art roads lead to The Big Apple. Look about the multitude of galleries both old and new, big and small.

DON'T expect the average interior decorator to fill your home with fine art. They are adept at "furnishing" a residence with art objects for a hefty fee. But virtually none will ever be worth anything. Often, for nearly the same budget, the homeowner can become a collector of material of value. So maybe there isn't the sense of immediate gratification. Patience is a collecting virtue.

DO pay heed to the words of art critics and reviewers. Their observations are born of knowledge, objectivity, and an intimate connection with the art trade. If they say some up-and-comer is worth watching, watch that artist. And, if you like the work, consider buying it.

DON'T buy art at a gallery that runs "sales." Prices for viable artists—established artists whose work may or may not appreciate—invariably rise, but they NEVER go down. Never. Steer clear of mall galleries and ersatz art emporiums that are really framing stores in disguise. And those weekend hotel-lobby extravaganzas promising "original oil paintings." If you want to match a painting to the hues in the couch cushions, call your decorator.

DO maintain a sensible art-buying budget. You don't have to mortgage the house to collect quality art. Collecting does cost money, but it is not how much money you spend—it is what you spend your money on.

DON'T "invest" in copies, facsimiles, or reproductions. They are worth nothing—tangibly or emotionally. All collectors, whether or not they recognize it, desire satisfaction in a work of art. Something outwardly bogus will never deliver.

DO develop and follow your own collecting eye, taste, and spirit. Shy away from trends, who celebrities buy or endorse, and who just caused a sensation at the Venice Biennale. Art collecting is one of the most personally rewarding of endeavors if you stick to your own emotional and visual guns.

Don't consider becoming an art collector if any of the previous "do's and don'ts" make little sense. There are always baseball cards, Beanie Babies, and vintage wines to collect.