I’ve recently become obsessed with almond croissants so I had to make some for myself! The recipe is really just a jazzed up day-old croissant. The almond filling (creme d’amandes) is what makes the recipe. It is rich, buttery, sweet and all the other good things.
I found an excellent recipe and tutorial from Natasha’s Kitchen for this traditional French bakery recipe. This is simply a halved version of her recipe using the food processor method and whole almonds for preparing the almond cream. The only changes I made were adding a touch of almond extract to the cream and using coconut-flavored rum instead of plain rum in the syrup.
The croissant is a buttery, flaky pastry in the shape of a crescent. This is achieved by layering the dough with butter, folding it over several times and then rolling it into a sheet. This technique is called laminating and results in a dough similar to puff pastry dough. It is important that the dough is of a high quality since croissants are typically served without filling. That being said, filled croissants also exist. The almond croissant is one variant but croissants may also be filled with chocolate, fruity fillings, Nutella, cheese or even meat!
While the croissant is typically associated with the French, it was actually created by Germans. In 1683, Vienna was under siege by the Ottoman Turks for several months. The Turks eventually tried to tunnel underneath the city walls. Fortunately, a few hard-working bakers overheard the sounds of the digging and alerted the city guards. Then some other stuff happened…. And thus, Vienna was saved by bakers! Amazing! To celebrate the end of the siege, some Viennese bakers created a pastry in the shape of the crescent featured on the Turkish battle standards. They called the pastry the ‘kipferl,’ which is German for ‘crescent.’ Some Islamic fundamentalists have banned the making and eating of croissants for this reason. The German version is simpler than the present-day croissant and did not involve laminating.
In 1770, the pastry came to France when infamous Austrian princess Marie Antoinette married King Louis XVI of France. At the time, she was only fifteen years old and missed the crescent-shaped treat from her homeland. The bakers in Paris created some ‘kipferls’ of their own, naming them ‘croissant’ which is the French word for ‘crescent.’ The pastries got a little fancied up through laminating and various fillings and toppings since they would be served at the royal table. Other stories say Marie Antoinette refused to dine with the royal family, instead just sitting at the table with her gloves still on. She would later eat pastries in her room. And this is why children shouldn’t be the queen of anything. My mom never would’ve let me get away with that!
Make some more croissants!
4 day old bakery-style croissants, sliced horizontally
½ cup hot water
2 tablespoons rum
1 tablespoon sugar
¼ cup sugar
1/3 cup blanched almonds
4 tablespoons salted butter
a couple drops of good-quality almond extract, optional
2 tablespoons slivered almonds
Combine water, rum and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat.
Bring to a boil and then simmer until sugar dissolves, stirring often.
Set aside and allow to cool.
Grind blanched almonds in food processor until mealy.
Add butter and pulse until smooth.
Add egg and extract and pulse until smooth.
Dip each croissant half in prepared syrup and arrange on parchment-lined baking sheet, cut side up.
Top each bottom half with 2 tablespoons almond cream.
Top bottom half with top.
Spread additional tablespoon of almond cream on top of each croissant.
Sprinkle with slivered almonds.
Bake 15 minutes or until golden.
Serve immediately. (Toast any leftovers before serving. Microwaving will make them soggy.)