I said I have seen recipes claiming you can make croissants in just four hours. I scoffed disdainfully. Everyone knows that the best croissants take three days to make.
She didn’t say anything. She didn’t say anything very loudly.
Got a way to bake croissants in just four hours? I asked.
She said she did. And since it’s Helen Fletcher, the pastry chef at Tony’s, I took her seriously.
Turns out she can make croissants in just four hours. In fact, what she does know is how to make puff pastry in four hours, and that’s the longest part of croissants.
Puff pastry is a pastry and croissant dough that cooks in dozens of delicate, crispy, buttery layers. They almost shatter into a cloud of pastry dust in your mouth when you bite them.
The traditional way to prepare them is to roll out a sheet of dough and cover it with a sheet of cold but supple butter. You then fold these sheets into thirds, like a letter, cool it so that the butter does not melt, roll it up and fold it again into thirds, cool it again, fold it in thirds, cool and, if you have the time and patience, fold and refrigerate once more.
A faster and simpler way, with almost as good results, is to grate the frozen butter onto the first sheet of dough before folding and possibly chill a few times (you don’t need to refrigerate it if you can work. fast enough). This method produces what the cheerful folks on “The Great British Baking Show” call “coarse puff pastry” or simply “coarse puff pastry”.