Monday, December 21, 2015

Cheat's Christmas Almond Croissants

Imagine waking up to the warm smell of baked buttery, sugary, spicy goodness wafting from your oven on Christmas morning? It can be a reality, people! I'm not saying you have to make croissants from scratch - heck, ain't nobody can't time for that! But fancying up some store-bought croissants, stuffing them with festive spiced fruit mince (also store-bought) and a generous helping of almond frangipane filling can turn plain, ordinary croissants into something rather special for Christmas breakfast!

Almond croissants are any bakery's darkest secret. I learnt to make them in the ridiculous hours of the morning when I was interning at a French patisserie in my high school years. You know how you fork out a small fortune for an almond croissant? Well, sorry folks, but actually, these almond pastries are made using YESTERDAY'S croissants - jip, all the croissants that weren't sold yesterday? The stale pastries are dipped in a sugar syrup, stuffed with an almond filling and rebaked to become today's deliciousness. Oh the shock and the horror! Actually, it's a pretty darn clever way of using leftovers and one that now, thanks to me, is no longer a secret (the things I do for you guys!).

Lucky for you,  you won't have to wake up at 3am to make them! Smile and bat your eyelashes at the baker at your supermarket to give you some stale croissants (or use leftover one's - although I struggle to fathom in what universe someone would have leftover pastries) then dip and fill them, cover and refrigerate til morning. When you wake up, pop them in the oven and by the time you've opened up all your Christmas gifts, your house will smell like a French bakery. Oh and I give you full permission to pretend as though you made them from scratch - just don't tell a French pastry chef I spilled the beans!

Christmas Fruit Mince Almond Croissants
Makes 6-8

250g sugar
250ml water
6-8 stale, day-old croissants

165g butter
160g icing sugar
2 eggs
200g ground almonds
20g corn starch

8 tbsp store-bought Christmas fruit mince, to spread
Flaked almonds, to garnish

Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat until dissolved completely then bring to the boil and simmer for 2-3 minutes or until slightly thickened. Set aside.
Make the almond by creaming the butter and icing sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time beating well in between each. Add the ground almonds and corn starch and mix until combined. Place in a piping bag.
Cut a 5-7cm pocket into each croissant then dip into the warm syrup briefly. Remove from the syrup, spread a layer of fruit mince inside then pipe in some almond filling. Pipe a little of the almond filling on top and sprinkle with almonds. Place on a lined baking tray then repeat with the remaining croissants. It's at this point where you can cover and refrigerate the croissants until the next morning when you're ready to bake them. 
Bake at 170 degrees Celcius for 15-20 minutes until golden and crispy. Allow to cool slightly then serve warm, dusted with icing sugar.

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