I love making laminated dough. Most people run a mile when they see the work that goes into it, but I love it. May be I'm a glutton for punishment... or may be it's just that I'm a glutton.
Cornetti (Italian Croissants)
slightly adapted from here
For the Dough:
1/2 cup lukewarm water (plus extra if needed)
1 1/2 tablespoons dried yeast
500g baker's flour
60g caster sugar
30g unsalted butter, softened
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
200g unsalted butter, left out of the fridge 20 minutes before using
For the Glaze:
1 egg beaten with 2 tablespoon of milk to make an egg wash
Golden caster sugar for sprinkling
Make the Dough:
Put the 1/2 cup lukewarm water, yeast and 20g of the caster sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer and stir with a fork. Set aside for 5 minutes until it becomes foamy. Attach the dough hook and beat the yeast mixture with about 3/4 of the flour. Add the eggs and beat until combined. Add the rest of the sugar, salt and enough flour to make a soft, elastic dough. Add the butter, orange zest and vanilla and mix on low speed for 5 minutes. The dough should come away from the sides of the bowl. If it's too sticky add a little more flour, if it's too dry add a little more water.
Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Give the dough a brief knead (I do this in the bowl), cover again and set aside for another 30 minutes.
Knead the dough briefly as before, cover and leave at room temperature for 3 hours to double in size.
Laminate the Dough:
Roll the dough out on a lightly floured bench and shape into a square about 1 cm thick. Put the block of butter into the centre of the dough and bring the corners up into the centre, pinching the edges together to completely seal in the butter. Roll the dough into a rectangle, fold into three by bringing the bottom third up toward the centre, then folding the top third over the bottom third, as if you were folding a business letter. Cover with plastic wrap and rest it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
After its had its time in the fridge, take the dough out and put it, folded edge to your left on a lightly floured bench. Roll the pastry out to a rectangle and fold it into thirds as before. Wrap again and chill for a further 30 minutes.
Keep turning, rolling and folding and chilling the dough until it has had four "turns" in total. All this turning, rolling and folding creates the flaky layers we all love so much in our croissants.
Line two large baking trays with baking paper. Set aside.
After it has rested for the fourth time, roll the dough out into a rectangle. Using a pastry cutter in a zig-zag pattern to cut the dough into 16 isosceles triangles.
Starting with the base of the triangle, stretch the dough as you roll it up tightly. The more rolls you get, the prettier the end product. Tuck the tips under the rolls to stop them from unravelling when baking, and lay them on the prepared trays, giving them enough room to spread a little.
At this point, you have two options: bake now or bake later. To bake now, you can leave them to rise at room temperature for an hour and bake them. To bake later: you can cover them with plastic wrap, pop them into the fridge overnight to have a slow rise and bake them off in the morning. If you choose the latter option, just bring them to room temperature before baking.
Glaze and bake the Cornetti:
Preheat your oven to 200C. Brush the cornetti with egg wash, sprinkle with golden caster sugar and bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until golden and gorgeous. Serve with coffee... Italian, or course.