Updated: Oct 1
With one basic croissant dough, you will be able to make so many different kind of products. One of my favourite savoury Danish is this Caprese Danish made with mozzarella cheese, sliced tomatoes, house made pesto and balsamic reduction.
To prepare the pesto, simply start by toasting the pine nuts. Place in with the basil, fresh garlic, grated parmesan cheese, olive oil seasoned with salt and pepper and puree until smooth.
Before you to start with the recipe in this post, you will need to take the two days preparation in to consideration to prepare the croissant dough.
The croissant dough will start with a detrempe - the dough itself - which will need to be rested in the fridge overnight before the lamination process can begin in the next day. Therefore, plan your time accordingly.
When selecting butter for lamination, fractionated butter with a high percentage of fat of at least 82% is recommended.
The common type of fractionated butter you can find in Australia are:
These butter has higher butter fat that makes them flexible to roll without breaking when performing the lamination. Unlike common butter, croissant butter are often fractionated, meaning that the fat crystals has been altered during the production process, which makes them melt at a higher temperature (high melting point). A high melting point is important when laminating croissant since they do not melt as quickly as common butter does during lamination and proofing of the pastry.
Preconditioning of the butter is also a term you would often come across when making croissants. Pre-conditioning the butter simply means "working" the butter until you get a flexible consistency of the butter before lamination. This prevent the butter sheet from separating between the detrempe. which is a common practice when laminating croissants.
BASIC CROISSANT FUNDAMENTALS
If you are interested in making your own croissants and learn more about the fundamentals, you can check out my post on CROISSANT.
To make the Caprese Danish.....
Yield: 8 Danishes
Water - col
Skim Milk Powder
Instant Dried Yeast
Unsalted Butter - room temperature
1 double + 1 single turns
Toasted Pine Nuts
Fresh Basil Leaves
Sea Salt Flakes
Blitz everything together in the blender until smooth. Adjust the amount of oil to the desired consistency.
English Hot Mustard
Bring to a boil and reduce for 3 -5 minutes over medium heat until thicken slightly.
Full Cream Milk
50 g / 1 Egg
Whisk the two together with a pinch of salt and set aside in the fridge until ready to use.
qs. Bread Crumbs
3 Medium Tomatoes (Slice to 16 slices)
350 g Mozzarella (slice to 16 slices)
In a stand mixer bowl, place the flour, milk powder, sugar and salt and mix to combine. Add in the yeast and room temperature butter. Attach a dough hook attachment and mix over low speed while gradually streaming in the water. Once all the water has been added, mix at speed 1 for 2 minutes or until the ingredients come together to form a dough. Then increase the speed 3 and continue to mix for another 4 minutes. ( I use kitchen aid standard stand mixer)
Roll the dough to a smooth ball. Check the temperature of the dough and ensure that is below 26˚C. If it is higher that that, place the dough covered well in the fridge until it cools below 26˚C. If the dough is at cool enough, cover the ball of dough loosely with a cling film on the bench at room temperature and leave for an hour or until it increases 50% of its original volume. This is the first fermentation of the dough.
Once the dough has risen to 50%, knock back the dough to get rid of some of the excess air then flatten and roll to a rectangle of 20 cm x 40 cm with a rolling pin. If you are unable to roll it to the size, do not worry too much as you will be rolling them out again during the lamination process.
Gently lift the sheeted dough onto a tray lined with parchment paper. Wrap the tray really well and place in the fridge (4˚C - 5˚C) for the second part of the first fermentation for at least 8 - 12 hours and up to 16 hours.
LOCKING IN THE BUTTER
1. The next day, prepare the beurrage (lamination butter) by rolling to 20cm x 20cm between two parchment paper. Ensure that the butter is around 16˚C - 19˚C when laminating. If it is too warm or feels really soft, place the sheeted butter back in to the fridge slightly. The butter should be flexible and not too hard for the lamination process.
2. When the butter is ready, remove the dough from the fridge. At this point, the dough should be between 4-5˚C .
Roll the Detrempe to double the length of the butter with the same width (20cm x 40cm). Place the butter in the center of the dough then wrap the overhanging dough on both opposite ends on top and over the butter, ensuring that the dough is not overlapping.
Pinch the two ends of the dough together to adhere. You have now locked in the butter.
3. Turn the dough around and with the two open ends closest and opposite from you, roll the dough to approximately 65 cm in length, whilst maintaining a 20cm width. During the rolling process, frequently lift the dough off the bench to prevent from sticking and dust lightly with flour if necessary. Avoid dusting too much flour as this can cause the dough to become too dry.
4. Once you have rolled to 65cm in length, trim off the two ends for a straight end (make sure you do not trim off too much as this can affect how much Danish you will end up with.
Perform a double fold by folding one end 1/4 of the way to the top of the dough, then fold the opposite ends 3/4 of the way meeting the other ends. Fold the dough over to half again. Flatten the dough slightly with a rolling pin, wrap well and place onto a flat tray and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
5. Once the 20 minutes resting is up, roll the dough again to 20cm in width and 60cm in length. Ensure that you roll the length from one open ends to its opposite open ends. (Keep the sides that has a fold ends as the width).
Trim off any uneven edges along the short ends then perform a single fold by folding one end lengthways to the center, then fold the opposite part of the dough over the top. You have now completed all the folds needed.
Wrap the dough well and place it back into the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes.
LOCKING IN AND LAMINATION VIDEO
FINAL ROLLING AND SHAPING
6. Roll to 22cm in width, then turn the dough over and roll to length until you get 8mm in thickness. Cut 10 x 10 cm squares with a sharp Stanley knife.
Place the pastry squares onto a tray lined with parchment paper, leaving at least 3 cm gap between.
Grease a plastic wrap with some oil spray, then place it loosely over the tray to cover the dough to prevent them from drying out.
Leave at room temperature to proof for 3 hours (less if it is a warm day / longer if it is a colder day). The pastry should start to rise and feels really light and delicate.
Pre heat the oven to 200˚C. When ready to bake, gently stretch two diagonal ends then fold over to the center to create a diamond shape. Press down well in the center. Sprinkle some bread crumbs on top then place two thick slices of tomatoes on top, ensuring to press them all the way down otherwise they will get pushed out during baking as it rises.
PREHEATING THE OVEN
Turn the oven down to 180˚C then pour boiling water over the lava stones to create initial steam. Bake the Danishes in the oven for approximately 30 - 35 minutes or until the pastry starts to turn dark golden in color.
Remove from the oven, add the sliced mozzarella cheese. Drizzle the balsamic reduction then pipe some of the pesto paste on top. Drizzle with some olive oil and finish off with fresh parsley leaves.