I really like croissants. Who doesn’t? I find myself never buying croissants at the grocery store or bakery because I’ll never not just have one. I’ll end up eating about ten while standing over the sink losing all dignity and sense of worth, and later on I’ll feel bad about the entire situation. Never enough to not eat again for the rest of the day or anything like that. Nothing that extreme. I’ve had this idea stuck in my mind though, more like a fantasy, where I make fresh croissants at home and they’re absolutely perfect and I get a standing ovation with a never ending applause from an invisible audience. That idea is quickly abandoned and the feeling of excitement quickly vanishes when I realize that making homemade croissant pastry dough is sort of hassle and quite time consuming. I’m no Martha Stewart and therefore I will not spend all day in the kitchen for anything. Nothing is that worth it. Maybe french fries, but those are quick to make. Although, the sound of spending all day in the kitchen making and eating fried potatoes does sound like the best day in the world.
Since I do have a life that doesn’t revolve around me folding cold butter into dough all day long and letting it rest for various amounts of time during the day, I’ve always cheated my way through “homemade” croissants. Have I talked to you guys about my love for frozen puff pastry yet? It’s the greatest thing ever invented and I use it all the time, especially when I want homemade chocolate croissants super fast without all of the work. Let’s get one thing straight, I am aware that it’s not the same thing as a pastry dough and it doesn’t get as flaky as traditional croissants, but you know I have to tell you, it’s pretty darn close and it gets the job done. Now I’m not trying to deter you from making traditional croissants at home, if you have that time and energy, then go for it! If you’re like me, however, and don’t have the patience, then get yourself over to a grocery store ASAP and pay the frozen food aisle a visit. While you’re there do yourself and everyone around you a favor and buy all the boxes of frozen puff pastry.
They’re great to have on hand for a lot of things really. You can use them to top off pot pies or make fruit filled hand pies or fake out danishes for breakfast or make puff pastry tarts topped with all sorts of delicious ingredients for appetizers. It’s a versatile ingredient and a pantry (freezer) essential. It’s gotten me out of many a last minute cooking/baking situation and I can’t recommend it enough. As I said earlier, the best thing to use puff pastry for is to make faux croissants. My friend Joy taught me to make quick croissants by filling puff pastry with chocolate chunks and rolling them around in cinnamon sugar and baking them off until golden brown and flaky. It’s an irresistible treat warm right out of the oven. This time around I’m filling them with a few spring ingredients like roasted asparagus and prosciutto and shredded gruyere cheese and champagne mustard. They’re part of my big Easter Brunch Bonanza going on right now. It’s the first recipe in our five recipe Easter bash and I think it’s a great way to start.
Let’s start by roasting our asparagus. Trim the asparagus and arrange them on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season simply with salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Give them a toss to evenly coat. Roast in a 375ºF oven for about 10 to 15 minutes or until crispy.
**Note: You don’t want to cook them all the way, make sure to leave them a bit under done because they’ll continue to cook once they’re rolled with the puff pastry. I like my asparagus to have a bit of a bite to them so that’s why I take them out earlier.**
Remove from the oven and allow to cool down before filling. In the meantime, you can get the rest of the ingredients ready. Grate the cheese, grab the mustard, prepare the prosciutto and make sure the puff pastry is thawed. That should be your number one step.
We’re going to work with one puff pastry sheet at a time (two come to a box). Cut each sheet into 4 triangles. Spread with champagne mustard and a small handful of grated gruyere cheese.
**Tip: While you work with one puff pastry sheet, keep the other one refrigerated and wrapped in plastic. Much like pie dough, it’s essential that puff pastry be super cold because the butter in the dough is what’s responsible for the flaky texture.**
Top each one with a few pieces of asparagus that have been cut in half. Also, they should be cooled completely, you don’t want warm asparagus because it’ll melt the cheese and soften the dough.
Roll the croissants into tight longs, starting at the longest side, going down to the pointy tip.
**Tip: I like to stretch the very end a bit as I’m rolling to ensure that I’m rolling it tightly. Place the tip downward so that while it bakes the croissants don’t unravel.**
Place them on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper and brush them with egg wash. Egg whisked with a splash of water.
Bake in a preheated 375ºF oven for about 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown all around. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before eating.
Let’s get real, this is pretty easy right? We didn’t even have to spend all day making dough and yet we still get a flaky pastry at the end of it all. I think we’re doing it right.
Good news is that you can make these in advance, roll them up and place them on a baking sheet. Then instead of baking them off, you can place them in the freezer. Freeze and then transfer to a freezer storage bag or container and have them ready to go when you need them. Just place them on a baking sheet (no need to thaw) and brush with egg was. You’ll have to bump up the baking time by 10 minutes but that’s okay, you just saved yourself a bunch of time by making them ahead of time.
You can also bake them off and keep them in the fridge (you can rewarm them in the oven). They’ll keep in the fridge for about 4 to 5 days. They make for great morning snacks on the go if you don’t have time to make breakfast.
As always, I’m not a stickler for certain things, so if you’re not feeling the gruyere or prosciutto or asparagus, you can definitely swap them out for something else. A different type of cheese or meat. Brie and ham with a strawberry preserve would be killer in these as well! Spinach and feta would be amazing too. See? The possibilities are endless.
On a non-relevant note, I’m currently gorging on plantain chips as I write this post and I feel like I better finish this post right fast because if not, I’ll continue eating the plantain chips and then I’ll be up a creek without a paddle because I’ll be out of plantain chips and later on when I’m craving some I wont have any. These are dilemmas I face on a daily basis. Clearly I need help.
Don’t forget to stay tuned for the rest of the Easter Brunch recipes coming this week. There’ll be four new recipes coming and I can’t wait to share them all with you guys. If you enjoyed this one, you’ll love the rest. Happy Easter and get to making these Roasted Asparagus and Prosciutto Croissants already. What are you waiting for? You’ll love them. Enjoy!
- 1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed
- ¼ cup champagne mustard
- ¾ cup shredded gruyere cheese
- 8 slices prosciutto
- 1 egg, beaten with a splash of water
- Preheat oven to 375℉.
- Place the asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Toss to evenly coat and roast for about 10 to 15 minutes or until crispy. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely and cut them in half.
- Work with one sheet of puff pastry at a time, keeping the other one in the fridge until ready to use. Cut each sheet into 4 long triangles. Spread with a bit of mustard (at the thickets part of the triangle). Sprinkle with a bit of cheese, a prosciutto slice on each, and a few pieces of asparagus (cut in half). Roll the croissants into tight logs, starting at the widest part and rolling down towards the thin pointed edge. Place point side down, on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the second puff pastry sheet. You should get 8 croissants in total.
- Brush them with egg wash and bake for about 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and flaky. Allow to cool slightly before serving. These can be made in advance and stored in the freezer until ready to bake. Place the frozen croissants on a baking sheet (no need to thaw) and brush with egg wash. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, if frozen. Enjoy!
- yields: 8 croissants