A pastry first baked by bakers in Vienna after the assisted defeat of the Turkish armies laying seige to their very gates, sapping their walls and tunnelling under them. They were so happy they made flaky pastries in the shape of the Turkish symbol, which is the half-moon or crescent.

I am not making this up.

Contemporarily, a staple of the continental breakfast.

Hmm, no recipe. Here's the one I made last week. It's moderately complicated, and rather time-consuming, but fresh croissants are wonderful.

.75c / 170g softened butter (Real butter. There is really no point in making croissants with anything else.)
.75c / 180mL milk and warm water (that's the combined volume, approximately half milk, half water)
1 egg
2T / 25g sugar
pinch salt
1T / 10g yeast
white flour - on the order of 1.5 - 2c / 180 - 240g
another egg

Things you will need:
At least one mixing bowl
A spoon to mix with
Waxed paper or baking parchment
Rolling pin (or some similar cylindrical object)
Baking sheet
Pastry brush

What to do:

I usually start these at night and bake them in the morning so as to have croissants for breakfast, but you could do the whole thing on one day if you're planning on eating them later in the day.

The night before:

Cream the butter with a couple tablespoons of flour, then turn it out onto a sheet of waxed paper. Roll it out between two pieces of waxed paper (or parchment) into a 6 by 3 in. (15 by 8 cm) rectangle. Put this into the refrigerator and let it chill for an hour or so.

Dissolve the sugar and salt in the milk/water mixture, and add the yeast. Once the yeast has softened, mix in the egg, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead gently for a couple minutes. Once it's nice and smooth, put it back in the bowl, cover it, and let rest for about 15 minutes.

Take the dough and roll it out to a 14 by 7in (36 by 18cm) rectangle. Put the chilled butter mixture on one half, fold the other half over it, and seal the edges. Fold the whole thing in thirds, roll it out again, and fold it again.

Repeat the fold-it-up-and-roll-it-out step four or five times. Chilling it between iterations is a good idea; otherwise you get butter oozing out all over the countertop. Go watch some TV and roll it out during the commercials, or read a few pages of a book in between.

Finally, fold it over one more time and leave it alone for a while. If you're planning on baking them later the same day, cover it and put it somewhere warm for a couple hours. If you're leaving it overnight, wrap it up and put it in the fridge; a freezer bag works well, since it can be sealed airtight and still leave the dough room to rise, but wrapping it loosely in plastic wrap or something similar works too.

In the morning:

Split the dough in half, and roll each half out. There are two ways to do this - either roll it out into a circle and cut it into wedges, or roll it into a rectangle and cut it into long triangles. In theory, according to the original recipe, each half is supposed to be rolled out into a 12-inch (30-cm) circle and make 12 croissants. In practise, I always end up making more like 4 to 6 out of each half of the dough. Roll up each wedge loosely starting from the wide end, curve the ends into a crescent shape, and put on an ungreased baking sheet.

Cover the croissants, leave them to rise for 30-45 minutes, and preheat the oven to 375F / 190C. Beat the second egg and brush onto the tops. Bake for about 15 minutes.

I suppose you could split them and eat them with jam or something like that, but I really think it's unnecessary; they're excellent plain, and it's much more fun to pull them apart along the fault lines left by rolling them up.

Original recipe from a Better Homes and Gardens bread cookbook published sometime in the '70s, significantly modified by me.

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