Preparation Time: 1 - 1½ hours
(plus rising and proving)
Resting Time: 1 hour
Cooking Time: 15 - 20 minutes
For 12 croissants (non-metric recipe!):
1lb strong plain flour
2 level teaspoons salt
1oz fresh yeast
½ pint warm water, less 4 tablespoons
4 - 6 oz hard margarine or butter
½ teaspoon caster sugar
See 'Making Croissants' pictures at bottom of page
1. Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Cut up the lard and rub this into the flour with the fingertips until blended to a coarse breadcrumb consistency. Cream the yeast with the water in a small bowl and pour it into a well in the centre of the flour, together with one lightly beaten egg. Gradually incorporate the flour with one hand and beat the dough until it leaves the sides of the bowl clean.
2. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead it for about 10 minutes, until smooth. Roll out the dough to a strip, about 20 in. by 8 in. and 1 in. thick. If necessary, trim the edges with a knife. Soften the margarine with a knife until pliable but not creamy, and divide it into three portions. Flake one portion of the margarine and dot it over the upper two-thirds of the dough, leaving a ½in. border round the edges.
3. Fold the dough into three, bringing up first the unbuttered part of the dough, then folding the opposite part over. Give the dough a half turn, and seal the edges by pressing with the rolling pin. Shape into a long strip again by gently pressing the dough at intervals with the rolling pin, and roll out to a rectangle. Dot as before with the second portion of flaked margarine, then fold, turn the pastry and roll again before adding the last of the margarine. Fold in three again. Work as quickly as possible to avoid the dough becoming warm and soft, thus melting the margarine. Keep the edges straight and the corners square.
4. Put the folded dough in an oiled polythene bag and leave in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Remove the polythene, roll out the dough and repeat the rolling and folding three times more, but without adding any fat. Return to the oiled polythene bag and the refrigerator for another 30 minutes.
5. To shape the croissants, roll the dough out, on a lightly floured surface, to a rectangle about 22 in. by 13 in. Cover with oiled polythene and leave on the table for 10 minutes. Trim the edges with a. sharp knife, to a rectangle 21 in. by 12 in.; divide the dough in half lengthways. Cut each strip into six triangles, 6 in. wide at the base.
6. Beat one egg with a few drops of water and the sugar, and brush over the triangles. Roll up each triangle loosely, finishing with the tip underneath, then carefully curve the pastry into a crescent shape. Place.the croissants, well spaced, on ungreased baking trays.
7. Brush the tops with a little more egg glaze, cover them with oiled polythene and leave at room temperature to rise (prove) for about 30 minutes or until light and puffy. Brush again with egg glaze before baking the croissants in the centre of a pre-heated oven at 425ºF/210ºC/mark 7 for 15-20 minutes. Use a palette knife to ease the croissants off the baking tray, and serve them while still warm.
|Flaking fat over two thirds of dough||Folding the dough into three||Sealing with a rolling pin||Rolling up dough triangles||Curving pastry to a crescent|
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