Recipe: Lunettes à la Vanille (Vanilla Croissants)
Techniques: Leavened Puff Pastry, Creme Patissiere
Well I enjoyed the croissants so much last week, I decided to re-visit them. Also I wanted to be sure that it wasn’t a fluke, and I’m pleased to report it wasn’t.
I mentioned last week that I would be cooking with fresh yeast this week, however my supplier (get me, with the lingo) fell through. So it was dried fast action yeast again this week. I’m still trying to get hold of some though. If anyone knows of anywhere in the Oxford area that has some, please let me know.
This week I made vanilla croissants, I also used up the strawberries from my garden and turned them into a smooth strawberry jam. The recipe for this can be found here.
The French name for this viennoiserie actually makes more sense that the English translation. Lunettes actually means glasses in French and if you look at the pastry closely it does resemble a pair of glasses. The vanilla element comes in the form of a creme patissiere which is piped into the holes in the pastry and baked along with it.
Like last week I began with making the dough, which is reminiscent of a puff pastry dough with powdered milk and yeast added. This is mixed together in my food mixer, but you could also doing it by hand.
Once you’ve added the water and a dough is formed, it’s placed in the fridge to rest. I made my dough before heading off to work, so the dough had a 7/8 hour resting time, however it really only needs a couple of hours.
After the resting time the dough is rolled out and so is the butter, the butter is sat on half of the dough and the other half is folded over the top. The dough is then rolled out again and folded twice more with an hour’s chilling time between each fold.
When it’s finally ready, the dough is rolled out and cut into 1.5cm strips. These are then twisted and shaped to make a pair of lunettes.
The dough is then placed somewhere warm (not exceeding 30ºC), and left to prove for a couple of hours until it increases in size.
Once the dough is ready, the holes are filled in with with creme patissiere. I had already made creme patissiere for another recipe and I had some leftover to use for this. Creme patissiere is a mix of egg yolks, sugar, milk, vanilla and cornflour or flour. The mixture is used in a host of recipes and is also a base ingredient for a number of others things like mousseline creams and flavoured creme patissiere, it is also used a lot in viennoiserie.
The pastries are then brushed with egg wash, placed in the oven and baked for 15mins until golden. Once they are cooked they are brushed with a mix of icing sugar and water. This needs to be done while they are still hot, the pastry crackles and the glaze dries immediately, giving a nice sheen to the top of the pastry.
The finished pastries are then transferred to a rack to cool. These taste delicious on their own, but they’re also quite nice with some of the strawberry jam if you’re feeling particularly indulgent.
The creme patisserie that I had leftover was from another recipe from the book La Pâtisserie des Rêves. The recipe I chose was a tart with chocolate-coffee creme patissiere, caramelised bananas and a streusel topping. It tasted amazing, but I was a bit disappointed with the presentation. This book is an English translation from the French copy, sadly quite a lot has been lost in translation.
The recipe didn’t specify what size pan to use, I made a guess and used one too big. Like every recipe in the book, the tart served 6-7 people. It would have comfortably fed 8 with quite large portions. I really love this book, but the recipes really require quite a lot of guesswork, which isn’t really what you want when making delicate patisserie. It doesn’t even come close to the level of detail in Patisserie.
Here’s a slice of the finished tart:
Next week, I’m sticking with viennoiserie, but I will be attempting chocolate chip and vanilla creme patisserie brioche. I’ll also be continuing my hunt for some fresh yeast.
Thanks for reading.