Praline Twists

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes

    60

Appears in

Bourke Street Bakery

By Paul Allam and David McGuinness

Published 2009

  • About

This is one of our most popular croissants. The soft, sticky dough with the crunch of the nuts and toffee is a real winner with customers dropping by for their morning coffee. It’s a favourite with the bakers too, but they love a part of the twist the customers don’t see, it’s the buttery caramel that oozes out during baking and forms a paper thin crust on the baking paper.

Ingredients

  • 400 g (14 oz/ cups) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 40 ml ( fl oz) liquid glucose
  • 200 ml (7 fl oz) water
  • 200 g (7 oz) blanched almonds
  • 1 quantity croissant dough
  • 250 g (9 oz/1 cup) crème pâtissière
  • egg wash, for brushing
  • icing (confectioners’) sugar, for dusting

Method

To make the praline, put the sugar and liquid glucose in a saucepan over medium heat. Add the water and bring to the boil, stirring well to dissolve the sugar. As a rule, when mixing high ratios of sugar into water, once the water boils the stirring stops to prevent the sugar from crystallising. Instead of stirring, keep a pastry brush in a small bowl of water on hand and brush down the insides of the saucepan to stop any sugar crystals forming. Keep boiling the mixture until it is a deep caramel colour.

Remove from the heat and add the almonds; the mixture will be hot so take care not to splash yourself. Pour the mixture into a deep baking tray lined with baking paper. Set aside to cool then, using a meat mallet or similar heavy object, break the nut caramel into rough 3 cm ( inch) pieces. Put in a food processor and process until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Set aside until needed.

Take the rested dough from the refrigerator and roll it out into a rectangle, about 35 x 100 cm (14 x 39½ inches) and about 5 mm (¼ inch) thick. Rolling the dough may take quite a lot of energy as it may keep springing back to its original size. If this happens, rest the dough in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes then resume rolling. This resting process may need to be done a number of times. If the dough is becoming too large to fit in the refrigerator simply fold it over and place on a tray before placing it in.

Cut the dough in half to make two 35 x 50 cm (14 x 20 inch) rectangles. Place the dough on trays lined with baking paper and place in the refrigerator 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 ½ cup of crème pâtissière evenly over the rectangle, spreading all the way to the edges. Top the rectangle with one-quarter of the praline to evenly cover the crème pâtissière. Starting with the short edge furthest away from you, firmly and tightly roll the dough towards you, until you reach the centre of the dough. Then, starting from the side nearest to you, roll back to meet the first rolled half in the centre. Wrap the log in baking paper and place in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes to firm up. Repeat with the remaining sheet of dough.

Remove the baking paper and place the dough on a clean work surface. Cut each log into slices, about 1.5 cm ( inch) wide. Pour the remaining praline onto the work surface. Twist the scroll shape so that the cross-section makes a figure eight and press both sides of each twist into the praline to coat evenly on both sides.

Preheat the oven to 240°C (475°F/Gas 8). Place the praline twists back onto the lined trays at well-spaced intervals. Cover loosely with a thin damp tea towel (dish towel). Set aside in a warm room (about 25°C–27°C/77°F–81°F) for 1½–2 hours, or until almost doubled in size. Spray the tea towel with water occasionally if it becomes dry.

Remove the tea towel, brush the top of each twist lightly with egg wash and place in the oven. Reduce the oven temperature to 190°C (375°F/Gas 5) and bake for about 15 minutes, or until a deep golden colour. Cool slightly on trays before dusting with icing sugar and serving.