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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Oh, Do You Know the Cruffin (Wo)Man?

You know the worst part about trying out a new recipe?  Not the prep work, like digging up some obscure ingredient such as foodsafe beeswax, or sky blue colored cocoa butter, or 3-inch plastic apple molds (not silicone, God forbid!).  Not the inevitable disaster zone that your kitchen becomes -- the sugar strands hanging from cabinets, the candied pearls rolling underfoot, or the powdered sugar. . . well, everywhere. Not even the seemingly endless and impossibly painful cleanup (I mean have you ever tried to scrub dried out bread starter from a porcelain dish?!)

No -- the absolute most terrible, horrible, no good, very bad part (to paraphrase from Alexander) is when the recipe doesn't turn out.  When it's underwhelming, or too sweet, or just not sweet enough.  When it's too dry, or not cooked through, or just plain out sucks.  That's when you plop yourself down on a chair and wonder why you just dedicated your precious money and even more precious time (both of which you'll never see again) to the failed project now taunting you from the kitchen counter.  Sadly, in this world wide web world, these moments happen more often than I'd like.  It's hard to QC recipes on the internet, and though it's entirely possible to mess up a recipe from a cookbook, the end product just seems to come out more reliably lip-smackingly tasty from Bouchon than from  It's a small fear that lingers in the back of my head every single time I try an online recipe (and, yes, I do realize the irony, given the fact that all my recipes fall under the second, virtual, category.)

And it was with that fear that my Monday began.

But, BUT, happily my friends, my worst fears were not realized.  Because this recipe I just had the very good fortune of discovering,  lived up to every expectation. . . and  then more. 💕 It vaulted from the dubious ranks of the untested, unpromising (but beautiful appearing) confections to literally one of my favorite pastries -- all within the matter of 8 hours.

If there is a recipe that you try, it should be this one; although, I fully expect that few will attempt it. It is indeed laborious.  Seven hours of life, from start to finish, in fact (although, to be fair, almost 3 hours were the typical wait-around-for-your-dough- to-rise time.)

And you do have to dig up obscure equipment (like a pasta roller, and a popover pan). . . and you will indeed end up with butter on your countertops, and on your cabinets, and flour in every crevice in your kitchen. And the clean up work?  Well, let's just say that I ran my dishwasher three times yesterday. But you will just have to believe me -- it was so very worth it.  Even though I ended up eating this so-called-breakfast-pastry at 7 pm.

So what is this magical pastry?  Well my friends, only the divine combination of a croissant and a muffin -- or a cruffin.  Now, I know, somewhere in France, Nicholas Stohrer is rolling in his grave (Quick history lesson, for those of you who aren't in the know: Stohrer is the oldest patisserie in Paris, having served croissants consistently since 1730.  17-frickin-30! Now that's a successful business. . . Pretty sure that Monsieur Stohrer would be horrified at the liberties taken with croissant dough -- almost melted butter, no rest, only two turns.  Well, let's just say it's a really good thing he's not around to witness this -- although even that esteemed baker may have been won over by this little confection.)

Because as anyone who has ever tasted a cronut knows -- change can be a very, very, very good thing.  It certainly was in this circumstance. I modified this recipe just a tad from The Busy Spatula, who in turn modified it a tad from Lady and Pups.  So I owe them both my undying gratitude.  As always, I like to embellish my pastries a little, so I added some toppings (food jewelry, as I like to think of it,and, of course, a drizzle of white chocolate.)

(To move along another tangent, this brings to mind the question: When does a muffin transform into a cupcake?  Does that white chocolate count as frosting (which is where the transformation occurs in my mind)? Because then, would this really be a cruffin? Or is it a crupcake? Or croissake? Things that make you go "hmmm.")

Anyways, enough talking -- more doing
(which is the only thing that will lead to the best part -- more eating.)

Blueberry White Chocolate Cruffins (or Croissakes, or whatever)

A fusion dessert for the ages -- the perfect combination of a buttery crispy croissant and a tender moist muffin, with the towering popover design giving an added boost of drama.

5 stars stars
Prep time: 6 hours
Cook time: 19 minutes
Total time: 7 hours
Yield: 12 pastries

  • 150 g All Purpose Flour
  • 150 g Bread Flour
  • 1 packet Instant Dry Yeast
  • 2 Tbsp White Sugar
  • 160 g Water (between 90 and 105 degrees F)
  • 50 g Unsalted Butter (softened) cut into 1/2 in cubes
  • 168 g Unsalted Butter (softened to the point of almost melting) divided into 12 portions of 14 g each
  • 1 jar St. Dalfour's Wild Blueberry Jam
  • 1 egg, beaten and strained
  • 8 oz White Chocolate
  • Sugar Pearls, Meringues, Sparkling Sugar, and other accouterments for decoration
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine the flours, sugar, and the yeast in the bowl of a KitchenAid Mixer. Spin for about 15 seconds on low speed to mix. (Note, I always have to use my Artisan for dough to mix appropriately. I think the Professional series bowl is too large for the typical amount of dough -- definitely in this instance, so use a 5qt bowl for best results.)
  2. Add the water slowly as the dough hook is still going and mix until you have a shaggy dough -- about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the cubes of butter in one by one, waiting until the previous cube has been entirely incorporated before adding another, about 5 minutes in total.
  4. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the dough hook and mix for another 15 minutes. The dough should now be smooth.
  5. Cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 45 minutes to rise.
  6. Meanwhile, spray your popover pan with PAM for baking (it is important to use this spray, because it has oil and flour in it.) Make sure you are using a popover pan with small cups -- each pan should have 12 cups.
  7. When the dough is done with it's first rise, divide into twelve pieces. Take one piece out. Leave the other 11 pieces in the bowl, covered.
  8. Pat into a small rectangle lightly flour both sides. Feed through the pasta roller at the widest setting.
  9. Fold in thirds (like a letter) and feed back through the pasta roller with the line of the seam perpendicular to the pasta roller.
  10.  Fold in thirds again and repeat.
  11. Cut the dough in half and lightly flour both sides of both pieces.
  12. Working with one piece at a time, feed through the pasta roller multiple times, gradually decreasing the opening each time. I fed it through at setting 1, then 2, then 4 , then 6. You really want to get it as thin as possible, but my dough started tearing at setting 7. Experiment with your pasta roller.
  13. Lay the dough out, trying to avoid wrinkling or tearing the fragile pieces.
  14. Slather one side of each piece of dough with 14 g of butter (total, so each should get half of that.)
  15. Roll up like you would a carpet, placing the second piece of dough directly after the first piece, so you get one very thick roll.
  16. Cut in half lengthwise. Curl both pieces of dough into circles, with the cut edge facing outwards and place in a popover cup, one on top of the other.
  17. Repeat for the remaining 11 pieces of dough. Note: You must work quickly because the dough will continue to rise as you work.
  18. Let the dough rise in the pan, lightly covered, for 3 hours from when you STARTED to work with it.
  19. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, standard.
  20. After the dough has finished its second rise, place a sheet pan under the popover pan, and brush the popovers lightly and completely with an egg wash. Bake for 19 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed.
  21. Set on a rack for 5 minutes in the pan, and then turn out onto a cooling rack.
  22. While still warm, use a piping bag with a large round metal tip, filled with the jam, to puncture the bottom of the pastry. Fill as desired.
  23. Decorate.
  24. EAT!!!

After the dough is divided, put the pieces that you aren't working with back in the bowl and cover, so they don't dry out.  As you can see, the dough will continue to rise, so work quickly!

Pat the dough out into an (approximate) rectangle.  The dough should be about 1/2 in thick.

 As you see, the dough gets much longer by the time you're done with it! Be careful, it is super delicate.  I find it works best to feed the dough in with one hand and guide it out with the other hand.  When the dough is fully through, use the first hand to catch the end.

I should have mentioned this before; if you're scared of butter, this is NOT the recipe for you.  You end up using about two sticks, but it looks glutinous when you actually see it spread out on the dough. (I mean, if you're like me, and 2 sticks in the box still sounds totally reasonable.)  Beware, the butter has to be as soft as it can get before it liquefies, otherwise you will tear the dough when you spread it.  You can use an offset spatula, or even a small cheese knife, but I think the best way to do it is with your hands.  The dough is ultra fragile, it will tear, so be very gentle.

Roll, roll, roll your dough,
gently down the board. . . 

Pick your sharpest knife and then sharpen it somemore before trying to cut this dough.  As you can see, my knife was not sharp enough -- if you do this properly, you will see each individual laminated layer.

            After rising again, the dough will "pop over" the cup. 
This is normal! Be happy!

Hot out of the oven!

Fill with jam, drizzle with warm melted chocolate and decorate as you see fit.

Then slice into that baby and just take a second to admire your handiwork. That shatteringly crispy crust. . . those springy delicate layers.


Seriously, take a closer look at those pockets of goodness 
(brought to you by the two tons of butter we just used.)

And then. . . dig in!