St. Martin's Day, 11th of November, is celebrated in a Polish city of Poznan in a particularly tasty way - by eating traditional croissants filled with delicious almond paste and white poppy seeds. Centuries old legend has it, that a Poznan baker had a dream in which he saw St. Martin entering the city on a white horse that lost its golden horseshoe. The very next morning, the baker whipped up horseshoe-shaped croissants filled with almonds, white poppy seeds and nuts, and gave them to the poor.
Now, this recipe might be a bit late, as we are already in December, yet it is worth trying out, especially with Christmas around the corner. Time consuming and detailed, it is true labour of love. Who knows, it might even replace traditional English mince pies...
So there you have it, my take on...
ST. MARTIN'S CROISSANTS - ROGALE MARCINSKIE (makes 25-30)
- 400ml of milk
- 1kg of sieved flour
- 100g of sugar
- 420g of butter
- 3 eggs
- pinch of salt
- 20g of fresh yeast
- 500g white poppy seeds
- 170-200g crushed sponges
- 120g sugar
- 4 tablespoons of honey
- 80g of butter
- 90g raisins
- 100g almonds
- 2 tablsepoons of candied orange peel
- 6 eggs
- 150g icing sugar
- lemon or orange juice
- chopped almonds
- candied orange peel
A day before, wash the poppy seeds and boil them for around 30min. Drain and cool. Then grind 3 times.
Soak almonds in boiling water, peel their skins off, grind them.
In a big pot, melt the butter, add sugar and honey, then chopped raisins, orange peel, almonds. When all is covered in honey, add poppy seed paste. Cook for around 5-7min. Cool. Then add crushed sponges and eggs - one by one, so that the filling does not get too watery.
Put 300g of butter into the freezer.
Warm the milk up slightly.
Mix the yeast with 2 teaspoons of sugar and 3 teaspoons of flour and 100ml of milk.
Stir, cover with linen cloth and leave to rise for 20min.
In the meantime, whisk eggs and sugar into a fluffy mixture. Melt 120g of butter.
Sieve the flour into a bowl. Add the yeast mixture, eggs with sugar, milk and salt. Then bit by bit add the melted butter. Work the dough using your hands until it's flexible and doesn't stick to your hands.
Cover with linen cloth and set aside for 30min.
In the meantime, grate the frozen butter and keep it is the fridge.
When the dough has grown, punch it a couple of times to get rid off the air. Then work it a little bit and using a rolling pin, form a large rectangle. Spread a bit of grated butter onto 2/3 of the rectangle, leaving 1/3 clear. Fold it into 3 starting with the clear side. Press the dough and roll it into a rectangle again, fold it into 3 again, leave in the fridge for 30min. Repeat the whole process two more times, each time leaving the dough to cool for 30min. You end up with 81 (!!!) layers.
Roll the dough into a long rectangle and cut it into triangles. Spread the filling on each of them and fold starting with the wider side, try to form a croissant resmbling a horseshoe.
Place your croissants onto baking paper covered trays and leave to rest for 15-20min.
Bake in 180 degrees, for around 20-25min, until golden.
When cool, decorate them with icing made with icing sugar and lemon/orange juice. Sprinkle with chopped almonds and candied orange peel.