Croissants with Pesto, Rucola, Figs, Prosciutto and Gruyère
Pastry Dough Source: Nigella Lawson’s How to Be a Domestic Goddess Yield = 16 croissants (if you use all of the dough — I used half and made 8)
Notes: If you want to make cheese danishes, view this post. A note of caution: these croissants are definitely on the salty side. If you are wary of salt, perhaps pick a smoked ham that is on the less salty side — not sure if this sort of thing even exists. Finally, day-old pastries reheat quite nicely at 350F for 10 minutes or so.
processor danish pastry:
1/4 cup (60 ml) warm water 1/2 cup (125 ml) milk at room temperature 1 large egg at room temperature 2 1/4 cups (10 1/8 oz | 286g) all-purpose flour* 1 package (2.25 tsp. | 1/4 oz | 7g) rapid rise yeast or 1 tablespoon fresh yeast** 1 teaspoon kosher salt 1 tablespoon (1 oz. | 25g) sugar 1 cup (8 oz | 250g) unsalted butter, cold, cut into thin slices
* Nigella uses white bread flour ** I used instant (rapid-rise) yeast this time but with the cheese danishes I used active dry yeast and let it stand with the milk and water for about 10 minutes until it was a little foamy (see notes in recipe).
pain au jambon:
8 to 16 thin slices prosciutto di Parma or smoked ham (depending on how many croissants you are making) Gruyère or similar cheese, about 1/2 oz per croissant (I used 4 oz. total), cut into matchstick-sized pieces
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoons of milk
Note: You will have a lot of leftover glaze if you are only making 8 pastries, but if you are prompt about putting it back in the fridge, you can save it until you get around to making the remaining 8 pastries.
make the pastry:
1. If you are using rapid-rise yeast or fresh yeast and have planned ahead such that you know you will be refrigerating the dough over night: Pour the water and milk into a measuring cup and add the egg, beating with a fork to mix. Set aside. If you need to speed up your dough-making process or want to make sure your yeast is alive and well: Sprinkle yeast over the warm water and milk with a little bit of the sugar (I took 1/2 teaspoon from the 1 tablespoon) and let stand until the mixture starts to foam a little bit. Then, beat egg with a fork until broken up and add to milk-yeast mixture. Beat mixture with fork again until just combined. Set aside.
2. Place a large bowl near your food processor. Then put the flour, yeast (if you haven’t mixed it with the milk), salt and sugar in the processor, and give it one quick whizz just to mix. Add the cold slices of butter and process briefly so that the butter is cut up a little. You still want visible chunks of butter about least 1/2 inch in size — about 10 to 15 short pulses.
3. Empty the contents of the food processor into the large bowl, then add in the milk-egg mixture. Use your hands or a rubber spatula to mix the ingredients together, but don’t overdo it: expect to have a gooey mess with some butter lumps pebbling it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, put in the refrigerator, and leave overnight or up to 4 days. (Note: If you have “bloomed” your yeast as noted in step 1, you can get away with two hours in the fridge at this step.)
4. To turn the dough into pastry, take it (or half of it — I find it easier to work with half the amount of dough at this step) out of the refrigerator, let it get to room temperature (or don’t if you are pressed for time) and roll the dough out into a 20-inch square. (Note: Don’t worry too much about inches here — just try to roll the dough out into a large square that is relatively thin. Also, you will need to lightly dust your work surface with flour and add more flour as needed to your rolling pin and board.) Fold the dough square into thirds, like a business letter, turning it afterward so that the closed fold is on your left, like the spine of a book. Roll the dough out again into a large square (mine always looks more like a rectangle), repeating the steps above 3 times.
5. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, and put it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (you can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, if you haven’t already done so at the earlier stage), or refrigerate half to use now and put the other half in the freezer to use later. Note: If you are pressed for time, skip this 30 minute chill time.
roll the croissants:
1. Roll the dough out again into a large square or rectangle. Cut the dough in half lengthwise and crosswise. Then cut each each of the four pieces created in half diagonally. (See pictures for guidance.)
2. Lay a piece of prosciutto or smoked ham over two-thirds (or more) of each triangle, leaving the pointed tip uncovered. Scatter the batons of Gruyère over top. Starting with the wide base of each triangle, carefully roll up each croissant, encasing the ham and cheese as you go.
3. Place the rolled croissants on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and brush with the egg wash. Leave them to rise until they double in size, about 1 1/2 hours; they should then feel like marshmallow. Note: With both the cheese danishes and these croissants, it never looks as though the pastries have doubled nor does the texture of the dough feel as fluffy marshmallow. I just stick them in the oven after 1.5 hours regardless of how they look.
4. Meanwhile, about 30 minutes before they’re ready to be cooked, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until puffy and golden brown.
These are the two rolled croissants I stashed in the fridge overnight. The following morning, after letting them rise for 3 hours…