Sticky buns and glamorous pudding: recipes for using up leftover croissants | australian way of life


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Do you have more croissants than you know what to do with? You ate it fresher than you will admit to anyone (but I don’t blame you, the pleasure of a freshly baked croissant is something I will never tire of), but what to do with the rest of them?

Fear not, because leftover croissants can be used in a few applications that will turn a classic dish into an absolute must-have.

Baked croissants keep especially well in Ziploc bags in the freezer, ready to pop out anytime to create a dinner-worthy dessert.

Croissant “bread and butter” pudding

Bread and butter pudding doesn’t sound very glamorous, but let me tell you, this pudding punches way above its weight.

Serve diners a scoop of the finest quality vanilla ice cream and you’ll have them licking their plates. There are also a few variations, if you feel inclined to add a little flavor to the basic recipe.

Butter: Croissant Bread and Moon Butter Pudding are way above its weight. Photography: Pete Dillon

Serves 10–12

6 croissants, one day
4 eggs
250g of milk
250g heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
30g caster sugar

Grease a cake tin and line with baking paper. Roughly tear the croissants and arrange the pieces in the cake tin.

Meanwhile, whisk eggs, milk, cream, vanilla extract and sugar in a bowl to combine. Pour the egg mixture over the croissants and let stand for at least 1 hour, letting the croissants soak up the liquid.

Preheat your oven to 160°C convection heat. Bake the pudding for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the pudding comes out clean.

Let cool completely before unmolding. Cut into thick slices and serve in a puddle of liquid cream.

Variants

  • Instead of tearing the croissants into large chunks, cut the croissants into slices and spread them with hazelnut spread before placing them in the loaf pan. Proceed according to the recipe above.

  • For a Sicilian touch, while you arrange the croissant pieces in the loaf pan, randomly distribute ricotta and chopped dark chocolate between the croissant pieces. Add the grated zest of an orange to the egg mixture. Proceed according to the recipe above.

  • Gently heat two tablespoons of rum in a small saucepan, remove from heat and add 100 grams of raisins. Leave to soak for one hour. Divide the rum-soaked raisins between the croissant pieces. Add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg to the egg mixture.

Croissants for twice baked rolls

Almond croissants were born as an austerity measure for French bakers. If there were any croissants left at the end of the day, they were reserved and the next day processed with sugar syrup and almond frangipane.

Before Moon, I had never seen or seen a twice baked croissant that wasn’t an almond croissant. But one day, I asked the question: “Why are day-old croissants always filled only with almond frangipane?”

If you grew up in Australia or New Zealand, you’re probably no stranger to the original bun. It consists of a sweet white bun, similar in size and shape to a hot dog bun. Traditionally, it also included dried fruits. The best bit, by far, was the sickly frosting which came in two varieties; good old fudge, or my favorite, whipped coconut frosting. Before eating them, you would cut them in half and brush them with butter (and if your sweet tooth was particularly demanding, also a generous layer of strawberry jam).

Finger bun croissants, that is, croissants topped with coconut glaze and filled with strawberry jam, arranged on pink plates.
Almond croissant, but make it a roll: twice-baked croissants with a twist. Photography: Pete Dillon

There’s been a bit of a revival of old finger bread lately, and there was no way we were missing that boat. Thus, Moon’s twice-baked finger bun was created, and I was instantly in love.

Makes 6

6 croissantsone day
desiccated coconut
to garnish

For the fresh juice
500g frozen strawberries
50g caster sugar

For the strawberry syrup
120g strawberry puree
250g fresh juice
(above)
500g of water

For the Coconut Whisk Frosting
100g of milk
100g heavy cream
15 g caster sugar
100 g powdered coconut milk
Thames
300 g fresh cream

For the milk and coconut frangipane
200g of butterat room temperature
200g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
2 eggs
100g powdered milk
75g grated coconut
75 g ground blanched almonds

To make the strawberry juice, place the strawberries and sugar in a heatproof bowl and toss the strawberries to coat them in the sugar. Cover the bowl tightly with cling film.

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan one-third full of water to a boil, then reduce the heat to keep the water simmering. Place the bowl of strawberries and sugar over the pot of simmering water and cook for two to three hours, until the strawberries are mushy, discolored and the liquid has started to run out.

Carefully remove the bowl from the pan (both will be very hot) and let cool. Once cooled, drain the strawberries, separating the fruit pulp from the liquid. Reserve the liquid (strawberry juice) and strawberry pulp. Mix the strawberry pulp. Both will be needed for the strawberry syrup.

To make strawberry syrup, place all of its ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat, allowing the syrup to come to a boil. Once boiling, remove from heat.

To make the Coconut Whip Frosting, start a day ahead. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, cream and sugar until simmering. Add the coconut milk powder and whisk constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. Continue cooking for a few minutes, whisking to thicken the mixture.

Remove from the heat and pour into a clean heatproof bowl. Place cling film over the surface of the coconut base to prevent a skin from forming, then store in the fridge overnight.

The next day, just before you plan to serve the finger buns, put the bowl of your stand mixer in the fridge for a few minutes to cool, then transfer the coconut base to the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk, together with the double cream. If you prefer pink frosting, add a small drop of pink food coloring. Whip until it forms stiff peaks. Keep a close eye as he whips because there’s a fine line between perfectly whipped and split!

Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a size 11 round nozzle.

To make the Milk Coconut Frangipane, beat the butter, sugar and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle beater until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, continuing to beat and waiting for each one to be well incorporated before adding the next. Scrape the bowl after incorporating the first egg. Finally, with the mixer on low speed, incorporate the powdered milk, ground almonds and grated coconut. Once again, scrape down the bowl well, giving it a final stir by hand (with a spatula) to make sure all the ingredients are well incorporated. Transfer the frangipane to a piping bag fitted with a size 11 star tip.

Now it’s time to assemble, cook and finish. Preheat your oven to 180°C convection and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a large serrated knife, cut your croissants in half. Generously brush the cut side of both halves of each croissant with the hot strawberry syrup. Pipe a good fillet of milk and coconut frangipane on the bottom half of each croissant.

Poke a small hole in the tip of the strawberry jam piping bag (three to four millimeters), then pipe a squiggle of jam onto the frangipane. Repeat for each of the six crescent bases.

Replace the top half of each croissant, taking your hand and gently securing each top.

Place the prepared croissants on the baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the frangipane inside is set. Check this by carefully lifting the lid of one of the croissants with a fork and checking the cooking of the frangipane. If it still looks like cake batter, it’s not ready yet. Cook for a few more minutes and check again.

Remove from the oven and let cool completely to room temperature. If you try to glaze the buns while they are still warm, the frosting will melt and just slide off.

Moon: Croissants all day, all night

Once cooled, the buns can be glazed. Hold the piping bag with the coconut whisk at one end of the croissant and start piping, zigzagging from left to right, making your zigzag bigger as you get closer to the “nose” of the croissant, then narrowing it as you reach the other end, aiming for a diamond shape. Repeat for each of the six baked croissants.

The piece de resistance of the bun is the moist desiccated coconut that coats the coconut whip glaze. Very carefully holding the dough from below, dip the frosting into a bowl of desiccated coconut, making sure to dip as gently as possible – you don’t want to flatten your beautiful squiggle of frosting. Serve immediately!

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