Croissants For Breakfast
Breakfast in Kenya is probably the most cliché meal we have today since it is basically tea and bread. This does not have to be so as there are a variety of pastries that can be included into a breakfast meal to kill the monotony. Croissants make for a great tea item and since they come in a variety of shapes and flavors, you can have them every single day without getting bored.
Basics of croissants
First off croissants are a kind of a pastry that is made from puffy pastry dough. This kind of dough makes the croissant very light and flaky and essentially very easy to work around. The word croissant is derived from the word crescent because it was traditionally made in a crescent shape. Originally, the croissant was made in France where it made for a tasty breakfast item. They took the place of normal bread on many tables back then and still do even now. There are a number of variations that have seen the croissant find its way onto lunch and even dinner tables.
Variations of the classic croissants
By wrapping the croissant-before baking- around almond paste or chocolate, it becomes a really sweet treat that can be included in a picnic basket or on a brunch table. In other parts of the world, the croissant is sprinkled with a variety of fillings like dried fruit, nuts like the pea nut and cashew nuts in the tropics and sultanas. The kind of fillings used almost entirely depends on the region in which they are being prepared and the purpose. For instance in the coastal regions of Kenya and East Africa in general, the croissant may have coconut and cashew nut fillings. This is because the coconut and the cashew nut grow there in abundance.
In other instances, they may be slit into two and filled with ham or brawn to make a croissant sandwich. The meaty croissants are usually consumed as a tea time snack or with a cold juice drink. Other variations are fruitier with instances where the fruit in season is chopped into small pieces and added for a better flavor. The most common fruits used are apples, grapes, mango and pineapple.
Preparing croissants is not as difficult as it may seem. There are no hard to find ingredients used here and no specialized equipment needed to make the perfect croissant. The ingredients are as follows
4 cups of all purpose backing flour and a ½ a cup extra for rolling
1 cup of cold water
1 cup of cold milk
¼ cup of sugar (granulated)
3 large table spoons of unsalted butter, margarine will do
1 ½ tablespoon of instant yeast
2 table spoons of salt
1 egg –large for the egg wash
And 1 ¼ cups of unsalted butter for the butter layer
Sieve the flour into a mixing bowl. Mix the flour with all the dry ingredients except salt and water. Warm the milk and dissolve the sugar and salt into it. Blend the mixture into the flour along with the butter or margarine.
Mix well then knead into smooth dough. Cover it and let it rise until it is at least triple its original size. Gently deflate it and let it rise until double its size. Deflate it once more and put it to chill for approximately 20 min.
Roll the dough out into rectangles of 14 x 8 inches. Mark out the rectangle into three equal pieces without cutting it up. Apply butter on the two first parts leaving a ¼ inch margin around the dough. Fold the unbuttered third over the second part. Fold the first buttered part over the two folded parts.
With the folds in a right & left position to you, roll out another rectangle of 14 x 6 inches and fold in three pieces again. Sprinkle some flour on it and place it in a plastic bag. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
Remove from fridge, deflate and sprinkle with flour. Repeat the rolling out and folding step and refrigerate for another 2 hours.
Place the dough on your working table and roll it out into a 20x 5 rectangle. Cut it into two equal halves. Cut each halve into 5×5 inch squares.
Proceed to cut each square diagonally into two triangles.
Elongate the tip and slightly stretch the other two sides as you roll them to the tip. Curve it slightly and place on a baking sheet.
Beat together the extra eggs and add 1tablespoon of water. Glaze the croissant with this egg mixture.
Bake the croissants in a pre heated at 245 degrees C or 475 degrees F. bake for between 13- 15 minutes.
Let the croissants cool and serve with hot coffee or tea.