Sunday, April 28, 2013

Croissants with Morel Duxelles

Okay, maybe the mushrooms aren't quite duxelles, but I liked the rhyme. And when you're in your kitchen, you can certainly make a true duxelles. There are plenty of recipes online.

I used a duck egg here because 1) I had them from the farmers market and 2) I wanted to make these really rich. A chicken egg will work just fine.

Croissants aren't terribly hard to make, but they do require some time and some work with a rolling pin. This recipe is a little bit easier than the traditional method, since it uses a food processor in the first stage.

The smaller bits of butter also make the dough easier to roll, so there's a little less work involved. I'm not going to lie to you and say that this is as easy as making cake from a mix. But c'mon, it's home made croissants. People will think you're magical if you make these.

Croissants are always best on the day they are made. they lose the shattery crispness in the crust when you store them. They're still good. Just not as great a the could be.

Easy(er) Croissants with Morel "Duxelles"

For the croissants:
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup cold milk
1 small(ish) duck egg (about the size of a chicken egg - or use a chicken egg)
11 1/4 ounces (2 1/2 cups) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick salted butter, cold
1 stick unsalted butter, cold
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water
For the "duxelles":
1/2 ounce dried morel mushrooms
1 tablespoon butter
Pinch of salt

Put the yeast, water and sugar into a medium bowl and stir to combine. Set aside until it begins to get foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the milk and egg, and beat lightly to break up the egg and combine it all.

Put the flour and salt into your food processor, and pulse to distribute the salt. Cut each stick of butter into tablespoon-sized pieces. Put all of the pieces into the food processor with the flour and pulse about 10 times to distribute the butter and break the chunks just a little. You don't want small pieces as you would for pie crust; larger chunks are preferable.

Add the flour and butter to the liquid in the bowl, and fold gently with a spatula until all the flour is moistened and it is well combined, being careful not to break up the butter. The butter should still be fairly hard at this point. The dough will be very wet; don't worry about it. Cover the bowl and refrigerate overnight.

The mixture can be used the next day, or kept refrigerated for an additional day if you aren't ready for it.

When you are ready to roll, flour your work surface generously, and have more flour standing ready. Turn the dough out onto your work surface, sprinkle some additional flour over the top You can be generous here, and form it into a rough square.

Working quickly, roll the dough out to an approximate 16-18-inch (sort-of) square. You don't have to be precise. Because the dough is fairly wet, it should roll easily, but it might be a bit sticky. The point here is that we need to flatten those bits of butter, so this first roll is more about getting that butter flatter and more pliable.

Add flour as needed on top and underneath to keep it from sticking any time during the process. At first, you might need a bit of flour. Later, a light dusting will suffice.

Fold the dough in thirds, like a letter. Then fold it in thirds again, to make a square.

Do this again three more times. Use flour as you need it and work quickly. If it's really hot in your kitchen and you feel the butter starting to get melty-soft, you can stop and refrigerate the dough. If the butter melts, you'll never get the layers you're looking for.

After the last fold, put the dough into a plastic bag and put it into the refrigerator for at least an hour, or up to three days.

Meanwhile, make the mushroom mixture:
Fill a small pot with a couple inches of water. Heat to a boil and then turn off the heat. Add 1/2 ounce of dried morel mushrooms an let them soak until they are softened.

Remove any tough or rubbery bits - I found that the "stem" bit was often just a bit rubbery. Chop the mushrooms into small bits. You could use a food processor, but we're not talking about that many mushrooms.

Heat the butter in a pan and fry the mushroom bits for a minute or two, then let them cool. If you're not using them right away, refrigerate until you need them.

When you are ready to make the croissants, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

The dough may have risen while refrigerated. After an hour you won't see much action, but if you left it refrigerated for longer, you will see that it rose a bit.

Flour your work surface and roll the dough into a circle about 14 inches in diameter.

Cut the dough into 8 pie-shaped wedges.

Pull the outside edge so that it's at least 8 inches wide and pull the dough lengthwise so it's about 10 inches long. It won't look like a perfect triangle any more - it will be more like the side view of a golf tee- but that's okay.

Take the prepared mushroom mixture and spread it over the surface of the triangles, leaveing a little edge uncovered on all sides.

Starting at the wide end of each triangle, roll the dough toward the the point.

Place the finished croissants on the prepared baking sheet with the point underneath. Curl the dough into a crescent shape.

Leave room on the baking sheet for the croissants to rise as they bake. These are pretty big croissants. you might as well put 4 on each sheet, so the have plenty of space.

Cover them with plastic wrap and set aside for 45 minutes. They won't rise much at all, but they should feel puffy instead of firm, and when you gently push on the side of one, the indent should fill in very slowly instead of bouncing back. Brush the croissants with the egg wash.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, until they are golden brown. Remove to a rack to cool.

This recipe was written for the Marx Foods 5th annual Morel recipe contest. For this contest, people were asked to bake with the morels. We were each given a sample of dried morels to work with.

The contest is now open for voting. Cast yer votes RIGHT HERE.