Monday, 11 March 2013

Croissants Part II: Pain au chocolat aux pistaches (Twice-baked chocolate and pistachio croissants)

Twice-baked chocolate and pistachio croissants
If I lived in China, it seems I would be labelled a ‘Leftover Woman’.  That's right, a leftover woman: a woman who is over the age of 27 and unwed.  According to an article in the BBCthe Chinese government stigmatises such women for being ‘so old’ and still unmarried, encouraging them to marry as quickly as possible because apparently, as one article published a couple of years ago by the Chinese media so kindly put it, “…as [unmarried] women age, they are worth less and less."  Gee, I feel so great about myself now!

Let’s be honest, such pressures on women to marry aren’t limited to just China.  Perhaps they are not so overt in other countries and cultures as to be stigmas that are actively promulgated by national governments, but they still exist.  Here in the Western world, no one thinks twice about referring to unmarried women rather unflatteringly as 'old maids', and even though I’m not aware of a term for it in my own Pakistani culture, I know only too well that a woman can be as educated and professionally successful as she pleases, but past the age of about 30 those successes matter little if she's not married.

Twice-baked chocolate and pistachio croissants

Don’t panic, this blog is not about to become a soapbox for my political or social views!  It’s still all about the cakeage I thank you, please, thank you very much!  What I would like to say though is: are leftovers always such a bad thing?  What about sandwiches made from leftover roast lamb or a breakfast of leftover pizza from the night before?  Be it leftover food or ‘leftover’ women, perhaps in both cases, its value is being underestimated?

Take these croissants. Formerly they were my Bourke Street Bakery croissants; delicious the day they were baked, fresh out of the oven, but as tends to happen with croissants, by day two, they’d gone stale.  And yet did I write them off as worthless?  No ma’am!  I took the stale ‘leftovers’, gave them a bit of tender loving care and look what happened, they transformed into by far the most delicious croissants I’ve ever eaten; even more decadent, buttery and yum-some than they had been the day before.  These twice-baked chocolate and pistachio croissants were in fact so delicious that a friend of mine beseeched me not to share the recipe on this blog and, instead, get rich from baking and selling these babies.  However - call me altruistic - I felt I just couldn’t deny you of them.  Once you’ve tried them, I think you’ll find yourself agreeing with me - sometimes not only do leftovers deserve a second chance, they can actually be far superior to their previous, ‘younger’ incarnations.

Pain au chocolat aux pistaches

P.S. These croissants are rich (I found half a croissant was more than enough for me and I can pack away my cake!) so either share the love and/or run around the blocks a few times afterwards, okay?

P.P.S. You don't have to make your own croissants at home to make these; this recipe can be used just as easily with shop-bought croissants that remain uneaten the day after purchase.  They'll still be twice-baked - once by the producers and the second time by you!

Pain au chocolat aux pistaches

Makes 12 large Pains au chocolat aux pistaches

  • 12 large plain croissants, one day-old (homemade or good quality shop-bought)

For the syrup*:

  • 50g caster sugar
  • 450ml water
  • ½ vanilla pod
  • 120ml fresh orange juice

For the pistachio cream*:

  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g whole pistachios (this should be their weight after shelling. If you would prefer to make chocolate and almond croissants, replace the pistachios with 200g ground almonds and ½ tsp almond extract)
  • 200g unsalted butter, diced
  • 2 large eggs
  • Plus 200g plain chocolate (40% cocoa), broken into large pieces
  • And 40g chopped pistachios (or flaked almonds if making chocolate and almond croissants)
  • Icing sugar for dusting

*Both the syrup and the cream can be made a day in advance and kept in airtight containers in the fridge.

To make the syrup, combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan. Split your half of a vanilla pod with a sharp small knife and scrape the seeds into the sugar mixture, then add the pod into the mixture too.

Bring the mixture to a boil over a medium heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Simmer for one minute, then remove from the heat and stir in the orange juice.

To make the pistachio cream, grind the sugar and pistachios (or ground almonds) together in a food processor until you have a fine sand-like consistency. Add the butter and mix until combined, then add the eggs one at a time until combined and the mixture is creamy (if making almond cream, add the extract at this point and stir through).

Preheat oven to 180C (160C fan).  Line two to three baking sheets with grease-proof paper.

Slit the croissants in half horizontally, then dunk each half into the syrup and place the bottom halves onto your lined baking sheet.

Spread about 2 tbsp pistachio cream onto the bottom half of each croissant, then scatter a generous number of chocolate pieces over the cream.

Place the tops back onto the croissants and spread about 1 tbsp of the pistachio cream over each of the tops. Sprinkle the chopped pistachios on top.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, then transfer onto a cooling rack and dust generously with icing sugar.


  1. Yum, I love the idea of reinventing these with pistachio cream - perfect for day-old croissants!

  2. Some times leftovers are the best bit! This looks totally delicious. I'm afraid to say I'd probably eat a whole one with no problem, then run 10k to make up for it. Your photos are lovely. Thanks for commenting on my blog.

  3. I can't decide if these look delicious or frightening with the green...but I'm leaning towards delicious. Anyhow, they sound incredible, despite appearances. And as I've said elsewhere, your recipe is definitely earmarked for my next round of leftovers.

    1. Ha ha, I know what you mean about the green! That's the problem with pistachios compared to any other nuts, but trust me, they are definitely delicious! I'm confident you'll agree when you make them! :)

  4. Hiya just waanted to let you know i've nominatd your blog for the Versatile blogger awards. Its a fellow bloggers apreciating other blogs award:)
    My Cupcake Habit Vb POST

  5. Tried and tested (though I didn't make my own croissants) and these were truly amazing! I ate one (I don't do things by half!!) and it was delicious - love the combo of pistachio and chocolate and that with a buttery flaky croissant you can't go wrong!

    Would definitely make again - in fact I have some pistachio cream left over!

  6. Oh wow, these sound incredible, got to make that pistacho cream! But I don't think we ever have leftover croissants in our house when I'm around.

  7. I am a Leftover Woman, I revel in leftovers and sometimes a roast chicken goes on giving for days! I have also made my own croissants too, but, when in France I do as the French to, buy them! A fabulous Tea Time Treats entry thanks, Karen

  8. Mmmmm. So glad you entered these into teattime treats - what a brilliant idea. I LOVE almond croissants but these might pip them...