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Traditional Almond Croissants
One of my favorite treats served with coffee or tea in Morocco are Almond Croissants. Depending on the bakery, these might be sold as croissants aux amandes, croissants aux creme d'amandes or even simply croissants fourrés. Whatever the exact name, they are delicious – plain croissants are stuffed with a rich almond cream filling known as crème d'amandes. This filling might be used as-is, or mixed with pastry cream for a lighter, creamier texture. The croissants are dipped in a light... syrup, topped with some of the filling, and then baked.
Traditionally French bakeries used this method to give new life to day-old croissants, but Almond Croissants can also be prepared using fresh croissants, either store-bought or made from scratch with this Basic Croissant Recipe.
A Moroccan bakery might have its own signature variation of preparing Croissants aux Amandes. Some follow French tradition and press the filled croissant quite flat before baking; some add a little orange flower water to the syrup glaze or filling; some top the croissants only with syrup and chopped almonds; others decorate the croissants in the traditional manner with some filling, sliced almonds and powdered sugar.Continue to 2 of 6 below.
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Start with Plain Croissants
Start with day-old or fresh plain croissants. You can either purchase or make the basic croissants yourself, but keep in mind that the richer and higher quality the plain croissants, the better the Almond Croissants will be.
Slice your plain croissants horizontally with a serrated knife. Don't cut them completely in half – you want the top of the croissant to still be attached to the bottom.Continue to 3 of 6 below.
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Add the Almond Cream (Crème d'Amandes)
With a spoon, spread some almond cream (crème d'amandes) inside the sliced croissant. Use the Creme d'Amande Recipe below as-is, or lighten it by mixing in some Pastry Cream. I use one part pastry cream to two parts almond cream, but you can adjust this ratio to your own preference.
- 2/3 cup blanched almonds (100 g)
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar (100 g)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup soft butter (100 g)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon almond flavor
Directions: In a food... processor, finely grind the almonds with the sugar and salt until the mixture is powdery. Mix in the butter, and add the eggs one at a time, processing until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in the vanilla and almond flavorings.Continue to 4 of 6 below.
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Brush or Dip the Croissant in Syrup
Traditionally the day-old croissants are dipped in a light syrup prior to filling, but since I start with fresh croissants, I prefer to brush on the syrup glaze after I've filled the croissants. This softens the crust a bit and adds sticky sweetness – yum!
Light Simple Syrup Recipe
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup water
Directions: Combine the sugar and the water in a small sauce pan. Stir constantly over low heat until the sugar is completely dissolved. Increase the heat, bring the mixture to a... simmer, and cook for several minutes without stirring. Remove from the heat, and cool.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
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Decorate the Croissants
Place the filled and glazed croissants on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. To decorate, spread a little almond filling over the croissant centers and sprinkle with some chopped or sliced almonds. If you like, press the tops of the croissants with your hands to flatten them. (I don't bother to do this, although it is most traditional.)Continue to 6 of 6 below.
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Bake the Almond Croissants
Preheat an oven to 350° F (180° C), and bake the croissants until the filling is set and the edges of the croissant are browned, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the croissants from the oven and dust with powdered sugar. Allow to cool a bit before serving.
Cooled or leftover croissants can be frozen and reheated directly from the freezer in a 375° F (190° C) oven for 5 to 10 minutes.