Monday, May 6, 2013

Almond Croissants

Do you have a cafe that you go to frequently as a meeting place? Somewhere that you can call the 'usual place' and others will know what you're referring to? For me and a small group of my closest friends from high school, that would be Le Pain Quotidien, or as we like to call it more simply, the French cafe.

It's not particularly original, yes. You might have been expecting me to talk about some quaint tiny coffee place tucked at the end of an alleyway with an old fashioned sign and comfy bean bag chairs. No - instead, we picked one of the largest chain coffee shops around. But don't mock it for that, it hasn't failed to give me a good cup of coffee yet, and most importantly, the food is delicious. Particularly the rows and rows of pastries that pack the glass showcases. 

Like their almond croissants. They are amazingly flaky and has a filling that isn't too sweet but is full of almond flavor. They are also huge and would make a good, albeit not the healthiest, lunch.

This croissant I'm giving you here? Yeah, this isn't that. This is probably the fast, easy and cheap version of it.  However. They still taste delicious. The almond filling is light and very almond-y due to the addition of almond extract and definitely reminds me of the croissants found in the French cafe, even if it does use frozen puff pastry as a shortcut.

One thing I would say is to make sure you don't overfill your croissants. I did. I'd only taken out one sheet of puff pastry to defrost and I didn't have the patience to take out another, and so I packed most of the filling into two croissants. Don't do this, okay? I'd say the filling easily makes enough for 4 large croissants and many more mini sized ones. The danger of overfilling it is that the filling becomes too dense and heavy and outweighs the lightness and flakiness of the pastry. You'll want to spread the filling thin so it distributes evenly and isn't packed.

Of course, you don't have to use the almond filling. There are other great 'croissant' flavors you could make - nutella immediately springs to mind, using it in place of the almond filling would give you great, even faster, croissants. Or you can copy Nigella and make mini croissants with a cube of chocolate inside. Whatever filling you use, these would be an easy way to add some sunny indulgence to your day.

Also: know what these would also be great as? Mother's Day breakfast. So be the perfect child and show your mom some love, or if you are a mother, make it as a treat for yourself - you deserve it!

Almond Croissants

Adapted from Anncoo Journal

2 sheets puff pastry
250g almond meal
1/2 tsp almond essence
85g pure icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 egg, separated
4-5 tbsp milk
Extra milk for brushing
Flaked almonds + raw sugar for sprinkling (optional)

Preheat your oven to 200C/390F.

In a bowl, mix together almond meal, almond essence, icing sugar, vanilla extract, lemon juice and the egg white until the mixture is crumbly. Add in milk one tablespoon at a time until a smooth, spreadable paste is formed. If the paste is too thick it will be difficult to spread, so add more milk if needed. 

For large croissants, cut the sheet of puff pastry diagonally in half for two triangles. For smaller ones, cut the sheet into quarters, then the diagonally halve the quarters to get eight triangles. Spread the filling onto the triangles, leaving about a half inch space from the edge. Brush the edges with a bit of milk. Turn the longest side of the triangle towards you and roll towards the opposite tip, then curve the edges inwards into a crescent-shape. Press the tips of the croissant together. Repeat until all the filling is used up.

Beat the egg yolk with a teaspoon of water or milk to make an egg wash. Brush the croissants with the egg wash, then sprinkle some flaked almonds on top of each croissant, followed by a small sprinkling of raw sugar. Bake the croissants for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.


  1. This actually looks great and not like any other almond croissants I've seen before. Got a bit of a rustic feel to it. Can I make this in advance? - J.C.

    1. I haven't tried preparing them in advance, but I don't see why you can't - you can make the croissants and stash them in the fridge, and when you're ready to bake brush with egg wash and bake from there. You might need a couple minutes extra baking time.


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