Monday, July 9, 2012

Croissant Pockets with Apricots and Brie

It has been some time since I have posted any bread type of recipe, so I decided I would try my hand at making croissants.  Since croissants do require some time, I wanted to make something out of the ordinary instead of the standard.

Since the details of the whole process is lengthy, I have done one post for the dough and this post here for the filling baking and assembly.  The dough in the ingredients is linked back to the original process of making it.

The filling is what really puts these over the top. Brie and walnuts are a pretty tasty blend.  However, this recipe does not stop there, it also includes brandied apricots.  These do have a way of really making your taste buds come alive.  In one bite you get buttery pastry, melted brie, apricots,walnuts and brown sugar.

A perfect treat for brunch, special occasion or just to brighten up any morning.

Croissants Pockets with Apricots and Brie
adapted from Great Coffee Cakes

1 batch croissant dough
8 oz ripe Brie Cheese, cut into 16 slices, 1/4 inch thick and 3 inches long
9 oz dried apricots, each piece cut into 1/4ths
1-2 tbs brandy
1 cup water
2 tbs sugar
4 tbs butter (softened)
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
1/4 cup and 2 tbs light brown sugar
1 egg beaten with 1 tsp water (egg wash)
1/4 cup milk
powdered sugar (for dusting)

Put the apricots and water in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer.  Cover and cook for about 20-25 minutes.  Your apricots will turn soft and some of the water will evaporate.  Drain the apricots and reserve the liquid.

Pour the liquid back into the saucepan and add the brandy and sugar.  Cook over medium heat until sugar has dissolved and brandy has evaporated, which should take about 3-5 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Put the apricot pieces back into the liquid and stir to coat.  Transfer mixture to a heatproof bowl and let cool.   Once cooled, stir in the walnuts and set aside.

Place the butter and sugar in a small bowl and blend with a fork until the mixture has a paste like consistency.  Set this item aside also.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Take out the dough and cut it in half and return one piece to the fridge.  Place the other piece on a flat, floured surface.  Roll the dough into a rectangle, measuring 10x12 inches with the 12 inches horizontal to the counter.  Then cut the dough into 8 rectangles, measuring 3x5.

Working with one small rectangle at a time, even out the shape to an even 3x5 size with the 3 inches horizontal to the counter.  Spread one teaspoon of the sugar/butter blend over the center of each piece, leaving a 1/4 inch border around the edges.  Then cover with one tablespoon of the walnut/apricot blend.  Take a slice of brie and place in center of dough so each end touches the edges of the 3 inch width. The folding with be much like a letter.  Fold the bottom of the dough up and over, with the end covering the brie.  Then brush the top dough edge not covered by the filling with the egg wash.  Fold this end of the dough so it overlaps the other and pinch to seal.  Place seam side down on prepared baking sheet.

Continue with the process for the additional 7 pieces of dough and the remaining dough in the fridge.  The end result should be 16 filled croissants, 8 placed on each sheet.  Brush the tops and sides with milk and let rise 20 minutes.  Repeat the brushing and rise time for 1 more time and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Brush again with the milk and let rise for another 20 minutes.

Brush pastries with egg wash from bottom to top, being careful not to get any on the parchment or baking sheet.  Place pans in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.  Reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake for 5 minutes and turn.  Bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Remove and place pan on racks to cool for about 20 minutes.  Dust with powdered sugar prior to serving.

Tips and Notes:
-after filling and folding you can freeze for later baking, just be sure to thaw it at room temperature before baking
-sides are not to be sealed, however, if you see that some cheese has melted out, you can take a spatula and push it back inside.  Just do it right after removing from oven.
-The Brie might not measure out perfectly to 3 inches for every piece, so you can put pieces together to make the strip the right size.
-try not to flatten your croissants when assembling, it impedes the rising.
-do not over fill.  Too much butter/sugar will cause pools to run out and make your croissants soggy 
                           **LAST YEAR:Honey Bee Cookies**