A few weeks ago, at what may be the best restaurant I’ve ever been to – owned by a guy who went to my high school and a must-do whenever I visit home – a simple tapas dish had my eyes rolling skyward in delight, my tastebuds at attention, my toes curling (this happens to me sometimes when I eat really good food. Always has. Ask my mom), and a jolt of excitement and revelation coursing through my body.
The excitement was directly correspondent to the fact that this dish was simple enough to make at home. I had not finished my last bite before I was speculating about ingredient ratios and wondering where I should source what I would require to make it.
It was a mound of fresh, soft sheep feta drizzled with chili-infused honey and topped with roasted pistachios. Served with lace-thin, crisp homemade crackers that simultaneously melted and crumbled on the tongue, I can’t get this little cheese course off my mind.
So indelible on my often-all-too-food-oriented mind was this flavour combination that I knew I needed to do something with it – to find a creative outlet that adequately expressed the happiness – the ear-to-ear grinning delight – that my stand-out tapas experience heralded.
And so, my friends, when I arrived at my folks’ house and could have unlimited access to a kitchen and some loving childcare, I wrapped goat cheese, roasted salted pistachios and chili honey in croissant dough. And though I’d never made croissants before and though I wasn’t sure if I would be able to adequately replicate the flavours so engrained in my memory, they turned out toe-curlingly good.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. instant yeast
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1¼ tsp. salt
- 1¼ cups cold milk
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 1 1/2 cups butter, cut into 1" cubes
- 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 cup soft goat cheese
- 1 handful salted pistachios, chopped
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1/4 tsp. chili flakes
- Pour the milk to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add in 2 3/4 cups of the flour and the yeast, sugar and salt in into the bowl. Knead on low speed until a cohesive dough forms. Cut the 2 tbsp. of butter into small pieces and add them to the dough, continuing to knead until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Your dough should be sticky but not sticking to the bowl. If the latter is the case, add the remaining 1/4 cup of flour a little bit at a time until the dough doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl anymore.
- Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
- Now, make a butter square. Toss the butter chunks in flour and turn out onto your countertop. Use a bench scraper or similar implement to smoosh the butter into a cohesive ~7" square shape. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
- Roll out your croissant dough into an 11" square on a well-floured countertop. Place the butter square in a diamond shape on top of your dough square. Fold the dough over the butter square and pinch the ends together, so it looks like you've sealed your butter in a doughy envelope. Use a rolling pin to gently roll your square out into a 14" square, going slowly enough to allow the butter to soften as you roll and ensuring your work surfaces are floured.
- Fold the dough into thirds (like a business letter). Then fold the dough into thirds again lengthwise, so that you have a square. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate two hours.
- After the dough has refrigerated for two hours, repeat this process of rolling and folding again, wrapping up the dough in plastic wrap when you're finished and refrigerating another two hours.
- At some point in this process, stir the chili flakes into the honey and set aside. Roast the chopped pistachios in a 400F oven until slightly brown and allow to cool.
- When ready to shape the croissants, line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Roll your chilled dough out into a 20" square on a well-floured work surface. Cut the dough into six squares and then cut each square diagonally to make 12 triangles.
- Roll the triangles out a little bit until their long edges are the same length. Put a bit of crumbled goat cheese, a sprinkle of pistachios and a drizzle of chili honey toward the base of each triangle of dough. Starting at the base, roll the dough around the filling. Curl the rolled dough into a croissant shape and place on your prepared baking pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise at room temperature for 45-60 minutes.
- Preheat your oven to 400F. Brush each croissant with the egg wash and bake until golden brown, about 18-22 minutes.
- For detailed images of the steps involved in creating this recipe, head to the original recipe by following the link to Annie's Eats.