Almond crescents

Aka Croissant aux amandes – which is different to Almond croissants, as these are not almond croissants, they are more like a shortbread.

The recipe is from this book: The Art of French Baking, by Ginette Mathiot. It’s a revamp of a book first published in 1932, and as such is packed with classic recipes, but though it’s a lovely object, nicely designed etc, it’s lacking a bit of context IMHO. I like recipes to have a bit of pre-amble – what’s the story with this or that item? Where is it traditionally from? Is it normally eaten with morning coffee or afternoon tea? The recipes themselves can be somewhat blunt too. I’m an experienced baker, but they can be a bit brusque in their instructions.

Anyway, these are nice, jolly nice, a flaky, slightly almondy shortbread (ie basically a sweet, high fat pastry) in an attractive form. That said, I’m not entirely convinced they’re worth the fiddle.

Oven at 180C.
Line a baking sheet with parchment.

200g butter
280g plain flour
100g ground almonds
100 caster sugar
flaked almonds (optiona)

Rub the butter into the flour and almonds, and stir in the sugar.
Bring the mixture to a dough, but try not to overwork it.
It’s a bit fiddly to work, so it’s a good idea to make a ball, wrap it tightly in clingfilm, and rest it in the fridge for half an hour.
Divide the dough into small balls, of around 40g or 50g each.
Form each ball into a sausage, then curve into a crescent shape and place on the baking sheet.
Squash and/or push a few flaked almonds into the top of each crescent.

Bake for around 25 minutes, until they are starting to brown.
Remove from the oven and sprinkle with caster sugar while they’re still hot.

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