Achieving perfect, flaky, buttery layers that are so representative of croissants can seem like an impossible task if you don’t bake often. But the trick to a great croissant lies in a carefully calculated process of folding dough with a layer of cold butter repeatedly back onto itself. If you can fold a simple letter into thirds, then you can likely make a great croissant. Make your own pastries, or use them to create decadent chocolate, pumpkin and caramel bread puddings--or even as a flaky, toasted bun for hot dogs! Here, 5 great ways to use croissants.
High-fat, European-style butter is the key to these high-rising and delicious croissants. These croissants are delicious enough to be eaten plain, but you could spread on some jam, Nutella or fruit butter for a lovely sweet breakfast. Or, go the opposite direction and use these croissants as you would an English muffin or bagel for a savory breakfast sandwich. The light sweetness of the croissant is a flaky balance to eggs, cheese and bacon.
Bakers make traditional diplomat pudding with soaked ladyfingers or cake baked with fruit and custard. In this take, Frederic Morin likes using the leftover croissants from Niemand Bakery. He says he always buys too much of everything ("Ask my wife," he says, "I even buy too many T-shirts"), so he created this simple recipe for using up his leftovers.
Chef Roger Freedman created this indulgent recipe almost by accident: "I was making bread pudding and ran out of bread. I happened to have day-old croissants on the shelf, so I thought I'd give them a try. It turned out the croissants added a richness that bread wouldn't have." Freedman folds the pastries into a chocolate custard mixed with bits of chopped milk chocolate, then bakes everything in one big dish.
"We Brits consider this 'pudding,'" says cookbook author and TV star Nigella Lawson of her buttery, sweet dessert. "Think bread pudding, only so much more luxurious. When I make this for supper, we eat nothing else. Why would one need to?"
These sweet-savory glazed hot dogs were inspired by a dish Marcia Kiesel discovered at a Manhattan Chinatown restaurant. They're cut in a crosshatch pattern, which makes the franks cook even faster, and served in a grilled mustard-brushed croissant.