Breakfast

Pistachio Croissants

4/02/2020 02:02:00 PM

Pistachio croissants. Buttery croissants are filled and topped with a luscious, vibrantly green, pistachio mixture, then baked until golden brown and gorgeously fragrant. A luxurious and supremely tasty breakfast treat! 

Pistachio croissants
Pistachio croissants


Yay, first recipe post that I've created post-baby! Once our baby Maya arrived, I assumed my baking adventures would slow down for a while - but you know what, I managed to bake quite a bit during my parental leave! I was on leave for four weeks to support Sandra after Maya arrived, and in that time I baked: lactation cookies, a madeira cake, a loaf of soda bread, Beatrix's smoky chocolate chip cookies, and these pistachio croissants!

I planned to go back to the office after my month of parental leave, but as I mentioned last time, coronavirus restrictions meant that I moved straight from parental leave to indefinite working from home and physical distancing. So I actually still have more time to bake than I expected.

Still, fun baking is still pretty low on my priority list right now. It's obviously lower priority than all the very Important and Necessary activities that keep birth mum and baby happy and healthy, and that keep the household running - changing nappies, bath time, cleaning the flat, the laundry (SO MUCH LAUNDRY), buying groceries, organising our meals, doing the dishes, making "lactation snack stations" for Sandra to eat overnight, cleaning and sterilising bottles, and on and on it goes.

However, I do love baking so much that whenever I can find a rare spare minute, I feel very motivated to give it a go. Parenting has been a huge, exhausting learning curve and culture shock (no shit, Sherlock), and baking brings me joy and helps me to feel normal! (Even more than a nap does, strangely enough). Right now there seem to be many small pockets of time in between all the Important and Necessary activities.

These pistachio croissants are a perfect example of baking that can be squeezed in around different activities - there are a few separate elements, but they can all be done in advance, and just assembled and baked when you want to eat them.

Pistachio Croissants
Pistachio Croissants

They're a little bit different, very special and luxurious, and definitely achievable for a home baker. These are structurally the same as almond croissants, but made with pistachios, obviously. If you happen to have some leftover croissants and some pistachios at home, can I suggest you make these? (Or you could, of course, just buy croissants and pistachios specifically for the purpose of making pistachio croissants - it'd be worth it, they're that good).

Pistachio croissants
Pistachio croissants

I'll level with you, I've never liked commercially available almond croissants - I always find them too sweet, too big, and often, full of disgusting almond essence. That artificial, overpowering medicinal flavour just ruins everything for me - blergh! Strong almond essence is a bane of many almond-based sweet treats, and actually, pistachio essence has a similar (gross) vibe. However, an almond or pistachio-based sweet treat made with just pure nuts and no essence? Absolute heaven. (Shout-out to Piccolina Gelateria's incredible pistachio ice-cream - my fave ever!) So even though I love actual almonds and actual pistachios, I almost never buy almond or pistachio-flavoured baked goods or ice-creams unless I'm totally sure they don't have any essence in them.

I love pistachios even more than almonds - the vibrant green colour is obviously a plus, but I just love the flavour and the aroma. They somehow smell both buttery and lemony (lemony!), and have a great waxy, white chocolate vibe going on. So good! I bought a big packet of pistachios at the end of last year, inspired by the wonderful Stella Parks' myriad pistachio paste-based dessert recipes, but never got around to embarking on that big baking project. So the pistachios remained (both in my pantry and in my mind).

I'd had the idea of pistachio croissants floating in the periphery of my brain for a while, and a few weeks ago the opportunity presented itself. My parents brought over some croissants and we only ate half of them. (This was obviously before Victoria moved to stage 3 coronavirus restrictions). There were pistachios in the pantry, and I thought "WHY THE HECK NOT?", and got started on these later that evening in between chores. (One benefit of having less free time - faster decision making! I've mentioned previously that I'm trying to be more decisive and stop meticulously planning things - less analysis paralysis, more getting on with it. Now that time is of the essence, I can't dither about trying to pick the best option and weighing up all the pros and cons. Things are either happening straight away or they aren't happening at all).

I adapted this recipe from the almond croissant recipe on the blog Chocolate & Zucchini. The different elements are:

  • Old croissants
  • Rum syrup
  • Pistachio frangipane

The rum syrup is quite easy - just put water, sugar and dark rum (I prefer Mount Gay for obvious reasons) in a saucepan and simmer until dissolved. I prepared this the night before and after I'd turned the heat off, chucked a lid on and let it sit out overnight.

I chose to blanch and skin the pistachios the night before (a tedious job), because I didn't want the skins impeding the vibrant green green green colour and pure pistachio flavour. I used Stella Parks' method for blanching pistachios, which involves soaking them in cold water for five minutes, heating them to just below a simmer, draining and rinsing them with cold water, squeezing the skins off, and then drying them back out in a low oven for an hour. It's not difficult but it is fiddly and takes a long time. You don't necessarily have to do this, but if you love pistachios like I do, I think it's worth giving it a go.

In the morning, I transformed the skinned pistachios into frangipane, by processing them together with butter, sugar, salt and an egg.

So, with all that done, here's the assembly!

Pistachio Croissant Assembly
Pistachio croissant assembly

You slice the croissants in half (almost all the way through) and open them like a book, then brush them generously all over with the rum syrup.

Pistachio croissant assembly
Pistachio croissant assembly

Then fill them and top them with the pistachio frangipane...

Filled pistachio croissants
Filled pistachio croissants

... and top them with some extra chopped pistachios. I chose to sliver the pistachios by hand, individually, because I had a spare few minutes, and I'd already gone to all the trouble of skinning them, and I love pretty things. If you already have bought pre-slivered, skinned pistachios in the pantry, use them, otherwise a rough chop of skinned or unskinned pistachios will be fiiiiiine.

Blanched and slivered pistachios
Blanched and slivered pistachios

Here they are, ready for the oven!

Filled and topped pistachio croissants
Filled and topped pistachio croissants

One more photo, because I think they look so pretty pre-baking. Also you'll see our bottle steriliser in the background - not my most loved, but certainly my most often used piece of kitchen equipment right now!

Filled and topped pistachio croissants
Filled and topped pistachio croissants

I did three croissants because that's what I had leftover, but I did fill them very very generously. I think the amount of frangipane in the recipe would happily fill and top four regular sized croissants. (Ooh, or even more mini croissants! How cute would that be? I think it would be a fab idea for a brunch party).

Baked pistachio croissants
Baked pistachio croissants

Dust with a little icing sugar, and we're done! 

Pistachio croissants
Pistachio croissants

Pure buttery pistachio goodness. If you're a pistachio-lover like me, I hope you give them a go!

Pistachio Croissants
Adapted from the almond croissants on Chocolate & Zucchini

Ingredients
4 x day old croissants
Icing sugar, for dusting
For the pistachio frangipane
75 grams shelled pistachios
1 teaspoon oil (optional, if you are skinning the pistachios)
50 grams caster sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
50 grams unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
For the syrup
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon caster sugar
1.5 tablespoons dark rum (I prefer Mount Gay, for obvious reasons)

Method
Optionally, start by skinning the pistachios. If you don't want to skin them, then skip straight to "to make the frangipane". Preheat the oven to 90°C. Place the pistachios in a small saucepan and cover with cold water. Allow to sit for 5 minutes. Place on a medium heat and heat until steamy (not simmering and definitely not boiling). Drain and rinse under cold water. Squeeze each nut between your fingers to remove as much of the skin as possible and discard the skins. Toss the nude pistachios with the teaspoon of oil, and spread out in a single layer on a baking tray. Bake until dry, approx. 1 hour. Set aside and allow to cool completely.
To make the frangipane, place 50 grams of pistachios, caster sugar, salt, and butter in the bowl of a small food processor and whizz to combine. Add the egg and whizz until smoothly combined.
To make the syrup, place the water, sugar and dark rum in a small saucepan. Place over a medium heat and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for a minute, then turn off the heat and set aside.
To assemble and bake the croissants, preheat the oven to 180°C, and line a baking tray with baking paper. Slice the croissants lengthwise, not slicing all the way through, and open them like a book.
Paint the croissants with the syrup - inside, outside, the edges. They can be quite damp.
Spoon two tablespoons of frangipane inside each croissant and spread it evenly. Close the croissants, and spread a spoonful of frangipane on top of each one.
Chop the remaining 25 grams pistachios into slivers and sprinkle on top of the croissants.
Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the frangipane is just set.
Allow to cool to just warm, dust with icing sugar and serve.
Makes 4 pistachio croissants

Have you made this recipe? Leave a comment below! Tag me on Instagram @sarahcooksblog and hashtag #sarahcooksblog

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