Croissants: 220g plain flour, 7g yeast, 160ml milk, 2 1/2 tsp caster sugar, 1 1/2 tsp salt, 2 tbs vegetable oil, 150g butter.
Croissants aux amandes were invented, I believe, to revitalise day-old/stale croissants so you could buy croissants and just glaze and fill them if you prefer. Lord knows making croissants is a labour of love, one which will leave a sheen of butter on your table and leave you with aching hands from the lamination (layers of butter and dough which produce that magical flakiness - if your croissants don't fill your bra with crumbs, you aint doing it right!). Whether you bake or buy your croissants, my lavender jam makes the perfect glaze and the lavender almond cream in the centre is OUT OF THIS WORLD. Just look at those lovely shiny crescents, the effort is so worth it!
Baking the croissants
1) Combine the yeast, 3 tsps of warm water and 1/2 tsp sugar in one jug and set aside until it begins to froth. Add the vegetable oil. In a separate jug, dissolve 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp salt in the milk.
2) Sift the flour into a bowl and add the two jugs of liquid. Mix thoroughly and then kneed for approximately 10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Cover with cling film and leave in a warm room for approximately an hour until it has TRIPLED in volume.
3) Knock the dough back, gently with your fingertips, cover and set aside again to double in volume. Finally knock back the dough again and chill for 20 minutes in the fridge.
4) Now comes the fun part... roll out the dough into a rectangle (about 30 x 20 cm in size) and using room temperature butter, spread liberally over the left 2/3 of the centre of the dough, leaving a half centimetre unbuttered border. With the unbuttered 1/3 at the left, fold to the right, and then fold again. Roll back out then dust with flour, cover with cling film and chill for 2 hours in the fridge.
5) Roll dough back out and repeat the buttering and folding, dust with flour, cover with cling film and return to the fridge to chill for 2 hours.
6) Finally, roll out to a rectangle approximately 50 x 10 cm and slice in half lengthways. Return one half to the fridge to chill and roll the other out to approximately 40 x 10 cm, then cut into 3 squares and cut these squares diagonally to leave 6 triangles of dough. Repeat with the dough in the fridge.
7) Roll the dough into croissants by rolling each triangle gently from the long side towards the point at the top, thus creating the classic layer pattern, and then bring the two edges together to form almost a circle. Allow to sit for a few minutes until the dough begins to puff back up a little, then bake in the oven at the highest setting (mine is 240 for 15 minutes)
Preparing croissants aux amandes
1) Cream the equal parts of butter, sugar and almonds together, then beat in the eggs. Grind lavender in a mortar and pestle and stir in. (If you wish, you could substitute the sugar for lavender jam in order to get the flavour)
2) Poke a small hole into the croissant at the side of the central layer and use a piping bag to fill with the lavender almond cream.
3) Dip a pastry brush into your lavender jam and glaze the outside of the croissant. From here, you can also scatter with slivers of almonds but personally I find this a little bit overkill! Bake in the oven at 200 degrees for 5-8 minutes, until golden brown.