Croissant dough: it’s not rocket science. It’s actually more difficult than that. The recipe that follows is not traditional, but it works, and, despite how long and arduous it looks, it’s surprisingly straightforward. The result is buttery, flaky, crisp dough that you can feel immensely proud of. The thought of this pastry wrapped around salty, spicy chorizo seemed fun, hence my leftfield update on the pain au chocolat. However, I thoroughly recommend pain au feta as a vegetarian alternative. If you’re really not sure, why not make a half batch first?
600 g strong bread flour
1 sachet (7 g) instant dried yeast
3 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
300 g butter, diced into 1-cm cubes
200 ml milk
200 ml water
5 chorizo sausages, diced
1 red onion, finely diced
1 tsp smoked paprika
20 g butter, extra, for brushing
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, sugar and salt. Mix butter through. Pour in the milk and water – just as they are, no heating – and mix to a sticky, butter-studded dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in a warmish place to rise for 2 hours.
At this point it will look highly unpromising – shaggy and floury in places, bubbly and puffy in others, but go with it. On a work surface, or a large piece of baking paper on a bench or table (either way, prepare for some mess), scatter some flour and scrape the dough out onto it. Then tip a little more flour on top and, using a rolling pin, roll it out. Your process from here is: rolling it out, folding it up (like a business letter, like a towel, like a t-shirt, whatever!) and then rolling it out again. This is working the butter and layers of air into the dough. It is also not the easiest process; however, just keep flouring and rolling and folding and rolling. You don’t need to adhere to a particular shape – just roll it out into something – a rough rectangle is fine. Aim for between five and ten rounds of this process, and it should become smoother and more pliant with each go. Once this is done, roll the dough out as far as you possibly can then fold it up and let it rest for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, fry the chorizo and onion in a saucepan until the former is crisp and the latter is softened. Sprinkle over the paprika and set aside.
Roll the dough out to a fairly even rectangle the size of a baking tray – it should be considerably easier this time, though let it rest for 10 minutes and try again if it’s really not achieving any distance. With one of the long sides facing you, slice the dough in half horizontally. Then, cut vertically eight times to form 16 roughly even rectangles.
Place a tablespoonful of chorizo mixture at the end of each rectangle of dough and roll up, with the sealed end tucked underneath.
Place each little pastry tube on a baking tray lined with baking paper (you might need to use two) and then melt the 20 g butter and brush it over each pain au chorizo. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise one last time for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 200°C.
Bake for 25 minutes. Eat them while lying down from all the exertion if you need to.
Reproduced with permission from Hungry & Frozen by Laura Vincent. Published by Penguin Group NZ. RRP $40.00. Copyright © text Laura Vincent, 2013.
Copyright © photography Kim Laurenson and Jason Aldous, 2013