Raspberry & Almond Croissants

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Ingredients

Dough
350g strong white flour
150g plain flour
50g butter (unsalted)
7g dried fast-action yeast
1.5 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons caster sugar (I always use golden)
150ml cool water

150ml FULL FAT milk

200g butter (unsalted)
Almond Cream
100g caster sugar
100g butter
100g ground almonds
2 eggs
A handful of raspberries and flaked almonds, plus a heavy dusting of icing sugar.

Mix the two types of flour together. Cube the 50g butter, which should be straight out of the fridge, and rub into the flours until it resembled breadcrumbs. There should be no lumps of butter left.
Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt and sugar to the other. Then mix all the dry ingredients so they are nicely incorporated. Add in the milk and water and knead gently until it comes together to form a dough. Be careful at this stage not to overwork because that will cause the gluten to develop, which at this stage we are trying to keep to a minimum. Cover with cling clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for at least 3 hours. The dough can be left for as long as overnight.
Bash out a block of butter until it is roughly 25 x 25 cm. I find the best way to do this is lightly flour the block, place between two sheets of baking paper and hit with a rolling pin. It’s literally great…who needs therapy?
Take the dough out the fridge, flour the surface lightly, and roll out to a rectangle roughly 30X50cm. Lay the flattened butter over the bottom half, and fold the other half of the dough over the top of this. Smooth any air bubbles out from the butter parcel, then seal the edges quickly so no butter leaks out. I find the easiest way to do this is gently push down with the rolling pin along each edge. Return the buttery dough to the fridge for 30 minutes.
Next comes the folding….
After 30 minutes, roll the dough out again, by pushing firmly in strong, quick movements. It may be a bit stiff, but try to keep the butter as equally dispersed as possible. The dough should be shaped into a rectangle about 30x50cm again. This time fold the bottom third up, and the top third down. Wrap it up in cling film and leave to chill for 30 minutes in the fridge.
Complete 3 more turns, rotating the dough by 90 degrees each turn. Chill for 30 minutes in between each, as this prevents the butter melting.
When you are ready take out the dough and roll it into a rectangle roughly 70x20cm. Leave it a few seconds as it will shrink back, but then roll again to the correct proportions. Cut into triangles, with a base of approximately 14 cm, and a length as long as the width of the pastry (20cm). Stretch out the bottom corners gently, so the shape resembles the Eiffel Tower. I tend to do this by holding the bottom two corners and stretching out whilst slowly swinging the dough to stretch it lengthways.
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To make the almond cream, cream the butter and sugar together as when making a cake. Then add the ground almonds and eggs, a bit at a time of both of these elements so the mixture does not curdle.
Spread thinly over the triangle of dough, and add a sprinkle of thinly chopped raspberries. Try to centre these at the base of the triangle to make a neat roll easier. Roll the triangle up starting from the bottom two corners to make the traditional croissant shape, bending the ends slightly when you are done to make the crescent. The first one may be a disaster, but practice really does make perfect with this one.
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When they are all rolled, leave to rise at room temperature for 2 hours, or until when pressed gently with a finger the dough springs back. Brush with a beaten egg and lightly sprinkle with almond flakes.
Bake in a preheated over at 220 degrees (200 fan) for 20 minutes-ish.
Dust with icing sugar, particularly nice eaten with apricot jam.

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