Croissants for Christmas

These croissants for Christmas come from a recipe of the great French pastry chef called Christophe Michalak at a time when he was the Head Pastry Chef at the Plaza Athénée hotel in Paris! He does not assign them a Christmas title but the taste of gingerbread is strong enough and delicate so I immediately thought about Christmas :-) and that’s why I gave them this name, and I must admit that they will be perfect for a Christmas morning! Taste these wonderful and delicious croissants with a homemade croissant dough and a filling with cream perfumed with gingerbread and some orange confit! They do worth the time and work making them because after all when you are well organized, it’s a piece of cake! It’s up to you!

In two words:

“Pleasure and joy we take and interest we show at things, it’s the only reality that creates other realities”

To Start...

difficulty a bit of technique is required
preparationseveral hours and a night in the refrigerator
cooking - 20’ 
serves - 7 + 2 (less beautiful in the borders)

 

Ingredients

for the croissant dough

  • 170gr of all-purpose flour
  • 5gr of fleur de sel or coarse salt
  • 20gr of caster sugar
  • 85gr of whole milk
  • 10gr of yeast
  • 15gr of butter
  • ½ teaspoon of flour
  • 85gr of butter to make the croissant turns
  • 1 egg yolk to golden the top

for the mix of spices

  • 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves (*)
  • 15 times grated nutmeg
  • 5 turn mills of Kampot black pepper

for the pastry cream

  • 1 egg yolk from a large egg
  • 15gr of caster sugar
  • 60gr of whole milk
  • 1 big pinch of corn flour

for the almond cream

  • 20gr of confectioner’s sugar
  • 20gr of almond powder
  • 20gr of butter
  • 20gr of egg (**)

for the croissant cream

  • the almond cream
  • the pastry cream
  • 15gr of orange confit (only the skin)
  • the mix of spices
  • 5gr of Grand Marnier

Steps

before starting

  • Take the butter out of the refrigerator the day before and slice it into pieces according to the different recipe portions

for the croissant dough

  • In a bowl, add:
    • the flour
    • the salt
    • the sugar
    • the yeast broken down in crumbs
  • Stir a little with the special accessory for dough of an electric hand mixer
  • Start adding the milk little-by-little, and continue to stir with the electric hand mixer
  • Once all the milk absorbed, start adding the butter, at first try to absorb it with the hand mixer but if it does not work, knead the dough with your hands
  • Knead the dough for 5’ until it becomes rather elastic
  • Form a ball
  • Seal the edges of the bowl with plastic wrap
  • Let the dough to grow in room temperature
  • Form a rectangle, 3cm thick, and cover it up with plastic wrap
  • Place it into the refrigerator at least for 12h (eg overnight)
  • In a bowl start beating the butter reserved for the turns
  • Add the flour and continue to beat
  • Spread the butter into a 14cm x 17cm rectangle onto some plastic wrap
  • Cover the top with some more plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator the same time as the dough
  • Take the dough and the butter out of the refrigerator just a little while before start working the dough
  • Spread some flour on the working bench
  • Place the dough on top
  • Press with a rolling pin in the middle (spot #1), then in spot #2 and then in spot #3
  • Use these spots to spread and open the dough and form a rectangle of 30cm x 16cm (max 1cm thick)
  • Place the brick of butter at the bottom of the dough
  • Bring the top of the dough onto the butter
  • Close the bottom of the dough along with the butter towards the upper part of dough in order to form some kind of envelope
  • Start pressing again with the rolling pin in spots #1, then in spot #2, and then in spot #3 in order to spread the dough and form the same rectangle again
  • Note that you have to remove the exceedance of flour with a cooking brush at every step
  • Turn sides of the dough by returning it on itself 180° on the right
  • Turn the dough 90° towards the right
  • Bring the left half of the dough towards the center
  • - Bring the right part of the dough towards the center and on top of the left part, this is turn #1
  • Cover up the dough with plastic wrap and place it in the refrigerator for 1h
  • If you haven’t already made the orange confit, start making it now
  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap
  • Place it onto the working bench sprinkled with flour
  • Start spreading and opening the dough by using the pressing spots #1, #2, #3, and form a long rectangle with the same size as previously (max 1cm thick)
  • Turn the dough on itself that is 180° towards the right
  • Turn the dough 90° towards the right
  • Bring the left side of the dough towards the center
  • Bring the right side of the dough towards the center and on top the left side by forming an envelope, this is turn #2
  • Cover up with plastic wrap and place it into the refrigerator for 1h
  • Note that you have to remove the exceedance of flour with a cooking brush at every step
  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator and remove the plastic wrap
  • Place it onto the working bench sprinkled with flour
  • Spread the dough by pressing to the spots #1, #2, #3
  • Turn the dough on itself that is 180° towards the right
  • Turn the dough 90° towards the right
  • Form an envelope by closing the left part first towards the middle and the right part towards the center, that is turn #3
  • Cover it up with plastic wrap and place it into the refrigerator for 1h
  • Start preparing the croissant cream by making first the mix of spices, then the pastry cream and then the almond cream

for the mix of spices

  • Add all the spices into a bowl and stir well

for the pastry cream

  • Add the egg yolk into a bowl
  • Start beating with a whisk to make like an omelet
  • Start adding the caster sugar slowly and into batches and continue to beat energetically with the whisk
  • Once all the sugar absorbed, continue beating
  • Add the corn flour and continue to beat until the cream changes color and becomes light beige
  • Heat up the milk
  • Pour the milk on top of the egg mix little-by-little and continue beating
  • Pour the mix into the casserole where the milk used to be
  • Continue beating in medium-low heat until a cream starts to form
  • Remove from heat and place the cream into a bowl

for the almond cream

  • Sieve the confectioner’s sugar into a bowl
  • Add the soften butter and start beating with the whisk
  • Once all the butter absorbed, add the almond powder little-by-little and continue beating with the whisk
  • Once all the almond powder is absorbed, add the egg and continue beating
  • Once the egg absorbed the cream is ready

for the croissant cream

  • Add the pastry cream into the almond cream
  • Stir well with a whisk
  • Add the mix of spices and stir well
  • Slice the orange confit in small pieces
  • Add the small chunks of orange confit into the cream and stir with a rubber spatula
  • Add the Grand Marnier by batches and stir gently
  • Once the Grand Marnier absorbed the cream is ready
  • 10’ before bringing everything together, place the cream into the refrigerator and take out the dough

bring it up together

  • Spread the dough into a rectangle of 15cm x 20cm or a thickness of 2mm
  • Spread on top the croissant cream
  • Roll the dough on the short side
  • Slice equal rounds of a thickness of 2cm (9 to 10 pieces)
  • Place the rounds onto a tray going into the oven and covered with parchment paper
  • Cover up with plastic wrap
  • Let the croissants grow for 2h30 at room temperature
  • Sometime before baking the croissants, preheat the oven at 180°C
  • Beat the egg yolk into an omelet and thus prepare the egg wash
  • Spread the egg wash onto the croissants on top and on the sides
  • At this point you can place the croissants in the freezer
  • Place the tray into the preheated oven
  • Cook for 20’
  • Slice in small dices some more orange confit for decorating
  • Take the croissants out of the oven and let them cool a little bit
  • Sprinkle on top some orange confit, and
  • Sprinkle some confectioner’s sugar
  • Enjoy :-)
  • A pure marvel!

What’s the story behind this recipe?

A noter que M. Michalak utilise le mix pour pain d’épices tout prêt au lieu de mon mix d’épices mais je me suis dit que les utilisateurs qui viennent d’autres bouts du monde n’auront pas le mix pour pain d’épices tout prêt ! Donc, j’ai préparé un mix pour pain d’épices maison qui est très bon et va à merveille à cette viennoiserie ! Essayez 😉

Inspiration

This recipe is inspired from the recipe of the gingerbread rounds by the Great French Pastry Chef Christophe Michalak when he was Head Chef at the Plaza Athénée hoter in Paris, you can find the original recipe in the book in French Michalak Christophe, Christophe Michalak, 2000-2020 : 20 ans de pâtisserie. Tome 1 : Epoque Plaza Athénée, 2000-2013, Hachette, Paris, 2020, p. 130.

Tip

If you prepare these croissants in advance, you can put them in the freezer at the a given time (see the recipe) and take them out and bake them 20’! They will be as if it was the first day and very good, and if you make them for the Christmas morning then you will be thrilled!

(*) if you can’t find ground cloves, chose some of cloves flowers and crash them in a mortar to produce your own powder, in this case use a bit lesser because it’s very strong! 

(**) beat a large egg into an omelet and weight the desired quantity

o-o C'est si bon ! o-o

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