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Sweet Breakfast Recipe: Flaky Almond Croissants

We love France for multiple reasons, but their gift of the croissant to the world is truly something special. Layers and layers of buttery, flaky pastry is definitely the best way to start your day, but we have to disclose there’s a way to make that perfect croissant even better. Enter: the almond croissant.

We were surprised to learn that almond croissants are actually bakers’ way of recycling day-old croissants, but these sweets don’t taste like leftovers. Light and fluffy pastry, filled with a delicious, almond filling and topped with sliced almonds sounds pretty good to us! Since it’s best to use day-old croissants–fresh ones can’t hold the weight of the almond custard–we bought croissants and then made the rest from scratch, but you’re more than welcome to tackle making the croissants yourself as well .more power to you! There’s no wrong choice here, as long as you try these tasty, tasty treats. Your bellies will thank you and anyone who tries them will be eternally grateful for your efforts!

Almond Croissants

Yields 10-12

Ingredients

  • 10-12 day-old butter croissants (crescent or rectangular)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds
  • powdered sugar

Syrup:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons almond flour
  • 1 vanilla bean

Almond Cream:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Pastry Cream:

  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt

Directions

  1. Begin by making almond orange syrup: combine sugar, water, orange juice, almond flour and vanilla bean in a small saucepan over low heat.
  2. Simmer and stir until sugar and flour dissolve, then remove vanilla bean, remove from heat and set aside.
  3. For the almond cream: in a large bowl or mixer, sift together almond flour, flour, sugar and salt, then add in butter and mix on medium speed until smooth.
  4. One at a time, add in egg and egg yolk and mix until thoroughly combined and lightened in color. Then pour in vanilla and almond extracts.
  5. Fill a large bowl with ice and set it near the workstation. Set a medium bowl on top/in the ice and place a strainer on top of it.
  6. Pastry cream: combine heavy cream and whole milk in a medium saucepan over low heat. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t boil or bubble.
  7. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, vanilla and salt until mixture is smooth and thick.
  8. Slowly pour 1/3 cup warmed cream into the egg mixture and stir constantly, until there are no lumps. (This tempers the egg mixture so that it won’t cook when it’s put over heat.)
  9. Pour egg mixture into the heavy cream saucepan and return to the stove, stirring continuously so it doesn’t burn.
  10. Once thickened (like pudding), pour cream into the strainer and separate out any curdled bits in the mixture.
  11. Stir pastry cream continuously over ice bath to prevent further cooking. After its temperature has lowered, pour pastry cream into the mixer with the almond cream.
  12. Mix the two creams together on low speed until custard is thoroughly combined.
  13. Preheat oven to 350 F and cut croissants in half horizontally.
  14. Drizzle or brush almond orange syrup onto bottom portion of croissants.
  15. Use a rubber spatula to spread a thick layer of almond custard on top of the almond syrup.
  16. Spread a small amount of remaining custard on the tops of the croissants and sprinkle liberally with sliced almonds. Press gently to make sure almonds adhere to croissants.
  17. Transfer croissants to a baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes.
  18. Remove from oven and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe adapted from Dessert Design Life

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