Praline Twists

24 November 2010

I’ve been having a hard time keeping up with new cookbooks lately (and the huge pile on my bedside table is getting even higher) – there seem to be so many good books coming out this year. I remember I made a vague resolution at the beginning of the year to cut back on them as the collection is now getting uncontrollable – but I knew my restraint wouldn’t last very long. And indeed it didn’t, as I still get excited every time I receive one…

I love reading any food books, but you know I have a weak spot for all things baking. I was thrilled to receive these two fantastic books recently – one is Tartine Bread, which you probably don’t need any introduction to; it’s from the fabulous bakery in San Francisco (their first book is great too, and I absolutely love their video). The recipes are tantalising and so are the photos – beautifully shot by my friend Eric who worked at the bakery for a long time and now works as a successful photographer. (He’s working on the OpenKitchen project, cooking fundraising dinners in aid of Haiti, you can find out more here.)

I’ve bookmarked so many recipes from Tartine Bread already and am hoping to write about it sometime, but today I wanted to share a recipe from the other favourite book, Bourke Street Bakery.

I’ve never been to Australia, although I’m hoping I will one day – when visiting this bakery will be top of my list. I first saw their ginger brulee tarts through Yotam‘s tweet while he was visiting the bakery in Sydney and I got really curious about the recipe – so I was happy to find it in the book. Haven’t yet had a chance to try it out, but will report back when I do!

The book covers everything from classic breads to pies, tarts, pastries and cakes – they all look irresistible, but I knew straight away what I was going to make first – praline twists, Danish pastries layered with custard and a generous sprinkle of praline. I love making croissants (or puff pastry in general, I’ve posted a recipe here) – I know it’s not something that provides instant gratification, and perhaps daunting if you’ve never done this kind of ‘laminating’, but with a little planning and practice it’s not as hard as you might think and I seriously recommend having a go. I can assure you that all the effort will be worth it when the heavenly buttery aroma from the oven fills the kitchen, and of course when you bite into the flaky crust!

Their recipe uses ‘plain’ praline (ie nuts coated in caramel), but I also added some pink pralines and it worked wonderfully. These sugar coated almonds and hazelnuts are a popular confection from Lyon – I’ve been wanting to make something with them since I tried this delicious pink praline studded brioche from Pralus in Paris (I’ve posted a photo here).

Their recipe requires a little more time than ‘usual’ croissant doughs – resting the ferment (starter) overnight then proving the dough another night gives a more complex flavour. The finished pastry tasted as great as I hoped, and as it says in the book, the thin burnt caramel that oozes out onto the paper during baking is a treat in itself. Try to use the best ingredients (especially the butter) as you will definitely taste them.

Praline twists

makes about 30

For the croissant ferment
100g strong flour
55ml milk
5g soft brown sugar
2 ½g salt
5g fresh yeast
20g unsalted butter

For the croissant dough
935g strong flour
550ml milk
60g soft brown sugar
15g salt
35g fresh yeast
500g unsalted butter

All the dough ingredients should be chilled

For the praline twists
400g caster sugar
40ml liquid glucose
200ml water
200g blanched hazelnuts or almonds (or both)
250g creme patissiere
Egg wash (whisk in 1 egg with 100ml milk with a pinch of salt)
Icing sugar, for dusting

For the creme patissiere
250ml milk
1 vanilla bean, split lengthways
50g caster sugar
3 egg yolks
15g plain flour

To make the ferment, place all the ingredients in a mixer bowl fitted with a dough hook. Process on low speed for about 3 minutes (don’t overwork it) or until a smooth elastic dough forms. (If you don’t have an electric mixer, knead the dough on a clean work surface for about 10 minutes, or until it becomes smooth and elastic.) Make into a ball and leave at room temperature for 2 hours. Cover with cling film and refrigerate overnight, or for up to 3 days before using.

Put the flour, milk, sugar, ferment, salt and yeast in a mixer bowl with a dough hook. Process on low speed for about 3 minutes then increase the speed a little and mix for another 2 minutes (or knead for about 10-15 minutes by hand). You should have a smooth elastic dough that doesn’t break when stretched gently. Make into a ball, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

Before laminating (folding) the pastry, remove the butter from the fridge, it should be cold but malleable. Use a rolling pin to gently pound the butter between sheets of baking paper into a 20cm flat square about 1cm thick.

Lightly flour the work surface and roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 20 × 40 cm. Place the butter on one side of the dough and fold it over the top squeezing the edges together to completely enclose the butter. Carefully roll the dough out into a rectangle, about 20 × 90 cm (you may have to clear the worktop like I did!). Fold the rectangle from one long end by one-third, so the dough is now 20 × 60 cm. Fold the other long end over the top so that the dough is now 20 × 30 cm. These folds are similar to the folding of a letter to place in an envelope.

Cover the dough with cling film and rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes. Repeat this folding and resting process twice more, each time rotating the dough 90 degrees so that as you roll it our you are stretching it in the opposite direction to the previous fold.

Once the dough has been rolled and folded three times and had a final rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes, it’s ready to be used to make croissants, pan au raisin, pan au chocolat or danishes.

To make the creme patissiere, place the milk, vanilla seeds and pod in a saucepan. Heat until just below boiling point, remove from the heat and allowed to cool, then let it infuse in the fridge for about 6 hours.

Place the egg yolks and sugar in a bowl and gently whisk until pale, then mix in the flour. Gently reheat the milk and pour into the yolk mixture, stirring constantly. Sieve the mixture into a clean saucepan and bring to boil, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon. Once the custard boils, reduce the heat and simmer for another 5 minutes or so, stirring continuously until the custard thickens and sticks to the spoon. Remove from the heat, allow to cool, then transfer to an airtight container. Place cling flim directly on the surface of the custard, cover with a lid and refrigerate until ready to use. You can keep it up to 3 days.

To make the praline, line a tray with baking paper. Place the sugar and liquid glucose in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the water and bring to the boil, gently swirling (try not stir) until it turns a deep caramel colour. Remove from the heat and add the nuts, then pour the mixture onto the tray. Set aside to cool and when set, break into small pieces (you can keep them in a freezer in an airtight container). Finely chop or blitz in a processor to the size of coarse breadcrumbs.

Take the rested dough from the fridge and roll out into a rectangle, about 35 × 100 cm, 5mm thick. If it keeps springing back, rest the dough in the fridge for about 10 minutes then resume rolling. If the dough is too big to fit in the fridge simply fold it over and place on a tray. Cut the dough in half to make two 35 × 50 cm rectangles. Place the dough on trays lined with baking paper and rest in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

Lay one sheet of dough on a lightly floured surface, with the short length running parallel to the edge of the bench. Spread half the creme patissiere evenly over the rectangle, spreading all the way to the edges. Top with one-quater of the praline to evenly cover the custard. Starting with the short edge furthest away from you, tightly roll the dough towards you. Wrap the log in baking paper and place in the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up. Repeat with the other dough.

Remove the baking paper from both logs and cut each log into slices, about 2 cm wide, to make about 30 rounds in total. Sprinkle over the remaining praline, patting gently into the dough (if you have pink praline, you can use some at this stage).

Place the rolls back onto the lined trays, spacing well. Cover loosely with a damp tea towel and let them rise in a warm room (about 25ºC) for 1 ½ – 2 hours, or until almost doubled in size. Spray the tea towel with water occasionally if it becomes dry.

Preheat the oven to 220ºC. Remove the tea towel and brush the top of each pastry lightly with egg wash. Reduce the oven temperature to 180ºC and bake for about 15 minutes, or until a deep golden colour. Cool slightly on the trays before dusting with icing sugar.

Food - Sweet    Books    44 comments    Permalink

  • I’ve got the chance to go to Bourke St bakery last June while visiting Sydney and I was not disappointed. I specially liked their bread…
    I agree with you, laminated dough seems so daunting, but all you need is time really.
    Those pink pralines pastries look so pretty and flaky !

    Posted by Vanille | 24 November 2010 #
  • Looks like I’ve got competition! Your praline twists look as beautiful as the pictures.
    I think we both have the same problem with cookbooks. We could probably open a la cocotte with both our collections.

    Posted by Rachel | 24 November 2010 #
  • I make pink pralines every week as a gift for the hotel customers. such a time consuming job, the bright side being I can snack on them every now and then during the process.

    and now, I’ll make sure to add some to my next brioche. xx

    Posted by fanny | 25 November 2010 #
  • It’s always a thrill when a post arrives in my reader from you _ Beautiful twists, the pink praline makes them so special.

    Posted by Sasa | 25 November 2010 #
  • Dear Keiko, oh, what a breath of fresh air at these earl hours. This is a lovely start to my day. What beautiful recipe. your execution seems spotless. I have to confess to have a wish: be a fly on your kitchen wall whilst you execute all the beautiful creations we see in your post. Hope we meet up soon.

    Posted by valentina | 25 November 2010 #
  • Everything you cook looks so delicious, but (probably because I am a lazy cook myself) I wanted to say how lovely your photographs are. It’s always a treat to see you’ve got something new up!

    Posted by Skye | 25 November 2010 #
  • Stunning photos as ever. Can’t wait to try the recipes.

    Posted by tim | 25 November 2010 #
  • This is one of your most beautiful posts ever Keiko – the colours are just gorgeous. The wait for your posts is always worth it!

    I’ve never baked much before, but this just might tempt me

    Posted by Paul | 25 November 2010 #
  • Bourke Street Bakery is now officially my favourite cookbook! After my first visit there last week, I have already been inspired to try out 2 recipes….including the Ginger brûlée tart- It was absolutely delicious! I can see the flakiness in your croissant, looks so good!

    Posted by Shirley@kokken69 | 25 November 2010 #
  • Thanks for introducing some great cookbooks. I’m always on the lookout for a good one, especially on baking.
    I’ve never made croissants so I’m not familiar with the method but I don’t mind the fussiness of it all. Quite the opposite, I love it! I will try these praline twists for sure.

    Posted by My Little Expat Kitchen | 25 November 2010 #
  • Hello again,
    I always greet your few and far between posts like a long lost friend, they are just precious and beautifully photographed as always.
    Effortless-looking style = talent and a great eye, okay now that I have stopped gushing, am going to actually read the post…
    liz from Paris

    Posted by liz | 25 November 2010 #
  • I know what you mean! The cookbook releases this year have been incredible. One of my favourites is Dorie Greenspan’s “Around My French Table” and “Quinoa 365”. Think the stacks of cookbooks will ever start to dwindle? Mine won’t that’s for sure :)

    Posted by Stay-At-Home-Chef | 26 November 2010 #
  • Wow amazing rolls. I love the pink praline on top!!

    Posted by Nisrine, Dinners & Dreams | 26 November 2010 #
  • These are so pretty! I recently made croissants for the first time and loved the whole process. The praline filling here sounds delicious!

    Posted by lisaiscooking | 30 November 2010 #
  • Oh Keiko, you HAVE to come to Australia one day! It would be so interesting to see your take on our country through your lens :)

    Posted by Y | 1 December 2010 #
  • Keiko san, what a lovely post you have!! Your photos show your love for baking and photography. They are so beautiful. How funny you said your pile of cook books are getting high. I have a pile of fashion and interior magazines that are piling up. Thank you always for being so inspiring!

    Posted by Kaho | 3 December 2010 #
  • Oh Keiko, I really love it when you post – always a nice treat! I imagine it would be great fun traveling with you in Australia. There are some cities begging to be eaten through :) You really ought to go (and then hop over to NZ after because I think it is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been). So you have me obsessing now over the pink pralines… and that gorgeously flaky pastry. xo

    Posted by Jen Yu | 4 December 2010 #
  • Thanks for the shout out Keiko!

    You are the food photographer I most admire – there aren’t many of us who cook AND shoot.

    I can’t wait till you post your foray into bread (and see how I should have shot it!)


    Posted by Eric Wolfinger | 6 December 2010 #
  • Eccellente direi!Mi piacerebbe molto un giorno riuscire a fotografare cibi così sfiziosi.Rut

    Posted by Rut | 6 December 2010 #
  • Hello Keiko!

    I have my sister-in-law and her husband around for 2 nights, if I have the time I will try to make those…I wonder whether I could make them a couple of days in advance…what do you think?

    Posted by Francesca | 7 December 2010 #
  • these praline twists look really fabulous!! very yummy!! and very good pictures :)

    Posted by florence | 12 December 2010 #
  • Nice to see you again posting good recomendations, and such a gorgeous twists.

    Posted by Cris,bcn | 15 December 2010 #
  • How I miss pink pralines…the best in fresh hot brioche!
    Wonderful reccomendations and even more beautiful pictures!

    Posted by Helene | 16 December 2010 #
  • Hi! I’ve just opened a blog
    and I added you on my link page…I hope you’ll like it. Your blog is awesome!

    Posted by agnese | 17 December 2010 #
  • Thoses pastels colors looks really good :)

    Posted by Frenchys | 19 December 2010 #
  • I really like the look of that, but I’d proably have a bit of trouble making it myself.

    Posted by Restaurant Devon | 21 December 2010 #
  • What a splendid blog you have! This recipe is lovely and the photo stunning! Brava, Bravissima!


    Posted by Alessandra | 22 December 2010 #
  • New years resolutions never really work on giving away some cook books or stop buying more.

    it’s so nice to flip through the old ones, especially those who share their thoughts besides their recipes… like you i just pile them up and add more.

    Lovely pictures :)


    Posted by Foodhism | 22 December 2010 #
  • I love cooking but never tried baking. Maybe it’s the time to start now using you recipe.

    Posted by Veggie | 29 December 2010 #
  • Happy new year!

    Posted by y_and_r_d | 1 January 2011 #
  • This looks so delicious! Now that I have acquired my new oven… Im excited to try this one. Your cooking always looks good :) Happy New Year!

    Posted by The Artist Chef | 3 January 2011 #
  • Your is simply the most elegant food blog ever!

    Posted by il sabotatore | 3 January 2011 #
  • I know I’ve left a comment on this post before but I’m just back to wish you a wonderful 2011!

    Posted by Nisrine, Dinners & Dreams | 4 January 2011 #
  • Magnifique ! La recette, la photo, le blog ! Un pur délice cette visite !

    Posted by ambiancegourmande | 5 January 2011 #
  • I love the photos. They an inspiration to a beginner like me.

    Posted by The Therapist in the Kitchen | 8 January 2011 #
  • bourke street bakery is incredible – I used to live within walking distance and my oh my was it dangerous. These twists look perfect for Easter with their pretty pink hues (already spotted: choc bunnies in the supermarket – I’ve barely recovered from Christmas!)

    Posted by foodie and the chef | 9 January 2011 #
  • I think that the pink pralines made the dish =)

    Posted by Pudding Pie Lane | 13 January 2011 #
  • Gosh, these look so pretty! It’s like art but in food form. I want one!!
    Jess : )

    Posted by Jess | 14 January 2011 #
  • These pralines twists looks awesome! I particularly like the use of pink pralines: it looks so pretty!

    Posted by Sweet Artichoke | 18 January 2011 #
  • So beautiful…..lovely.

    Posted by Maria Isabel Rodrigo | 21 January 2011 #
  • These look stunning Keiko, a real treat for the grey days of winter. Must start making more praline, an incredibly useful little topping to have for impromptu baking sessions!

    Posted by scandilicious | 5 February 2011 #
  • I lived within walking distance from Bourke St Bakery and loved their ginger brulee tart and sausage rolls. They’ve opened a new store in the city called central baking depot. Australia has so much good food you must come visit! I now live in London and find there are so many aussie brunch spots opening :)

    Posted by veronica | 20 June 2011 #
  • I’m Chinese.
    So lovely taste~

    Posted by kusano | 3 November 2011 #
  • Hi Keiko,
    Bourke Street Bakery is my fave bakery, and I’m lucky enough to live near their first shop down in Surry Hills. Their lamb harissa sausage rolls are very delicous.
    It’ll be so awesome if you can come and visit Sydney!

    Posted by Fifi | 3 February 2012 #

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