Wednesday, December 4, 2013

'Nduja Butter Croissants. I Didn't Think It Would Work But It Did.

Some time ago I made a large chub of what I called "'Ndjutica." You can read all about that here. The 'Ndjutica was my take on the traditional Italian 'Nduja that substituted Utica grind red pepper for the Calabrian red pepper. I ate most of my 'nduja straight but some of it went into a rolled compound butter sort of thing.

I recently got a new fridge/freezer and when I was cleaning out my old one I found a nice size chunk of the 'nduja butter lurking in the back. The stuff was well wrapped but probably at the very very end of its usability time frame so I wanted to think of a way to use it up promptly in one shot.

I started thinking about croissants. 'Nduja has a very high fat content so I thought the compound butter might just work for croissants... I decided to proceed with the experiment. 

I won't burden you with the specific techniques of croissant making. I use a fairly standard recipe and should you be interested, that is what the googles are for

I started with the yeast dough.

Flattened the remaining 'Ndjutica butter into a rough square. I wasn't really too anal with shaping/squaring everything because I really didn't figure these would turn out too well.

Mmmm.... Doughy fat block.

Here she is after the first fold... Not very appetizing to the eye. Sort of looked like what I imagine a fresh zombie thigh would look like. Either that or a really horrible bruise after it has faded a bit.

Anyhow, after all of the requisite chillings and foldings I was surprised at how little the meaty paste affected the texture of the dough. I wouldn't have know there was anything but butter in there except for the color.

I cut the dough to make smallish croissants.

Rolled and proofed for 45 minutes in a cozy spot. I threw on an egg wash before baking.

Into a convection over for 15 at 400 degrees and then 350 for a further 15 minutes.

I was very surprised at the end result of my little experiment. The croissants looked perfectly normal. They were a nice crusty brown with nice definition between the layers. Except for the tiny red flecks you would not know that anything was outside of the norm. I expected the 'nduja butter to run out in a greasy mess or for the croissants to ugly little fat lumps. That didn't happen... Color me surprised.

Mmmm... Nice and crusty on the outside with an airy/buttery inside. The flavor was good and spicy with the delicious and funky undertones characteristic of my 'nduja. Absolutely delicious. I polished off two while they were still warm.

This is why I indulge myself in experimenting with my (often bizarre) culinary flights of fancy. Often my idears turn out horrid, but just as often they turn out good. Who would have thought that funky meat butter would make for a tasty croissant? I would actually make these again. Too bad I am out of 'ndjutica... Shucks. I will just have to make a fresh batch.

By the way, I hear that The Cheese Traveler has 'nduja made by La Quercia out of Iowa. I hear extremely good things about La Quercia so I am going to have to go over there and get some.
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