Double Baked Almond Croissants Two Ways - Pumpkin Pie and Chocolate Hazelnut

Have you ever had a double baked almond croissant? You might have seen them in bakeries or patisseries and thought to yourself, "I am going to get me one of those things". If not, you really should try one. 

From a business standpoint, doubles (as we call them in our kitchen) are a great way to use up unsold croissants from the day before. However, our doubles are so popular that we purposely bake more croissants than we need (sometimes up to 60 more per day) just so we can make them into doubles. We keep ours traditional - just almond cream and almonds. Classic, you know? But at home, I like to mess around with flavours and create something new and different. That's how the Pumpkin Pie Double Baked Almond Croissant and the Chocolate Hazelnut Double Baked Almond Croissant came about. It's a heck of a long name, I know, but what can you do.

I'm going to admit that I cheated here and bought croissant from work and turned them into doubles. I didn't really feel like making a whole batch of croissant dough just to let them go stale and use them for doubles. I mean, it's like roasting a whole chicken just to use the bones for stock. And anyways, doubles are meant to be made from day old croissants, so just go to a bakery, buy some delicious croissants, eat a couple of them fresh, then save the rest for doubles. Or if your local bakery sells day old croissants for a reduced price, get those!

I'm going to honest here again and admit that I am not a massive fan of doubles. I mean, they're good, but I will always go for a chocolate croissant (sometimes cut open and filled with pastry cream because go big or go home). Doubles are dense and sweet and crunchy and very unlike a regular croissant. They're their own category of baked good. I simply prefer light and airy and delicate croissants, preferably with chocolate in them. 

However, I will tell you that I ate half of a croissant in about 3 bites while hunched over the kitchen sink. If we made these flavours at my work, I'd probably be eating doubles more often.

I had low expectations for the pumpkin pie double because I wasn't too sure that simply adding pumpkin purée and spices to almond cream would make it taste just like pumpkin pie. I was worried that it would be one of those pumpkin desserts that really should've been left un-pumpkined. But I was pleasantly surprised by how pumpkin pie-y it tastes. And not just in the taste, but the texture was similar, too. The crunchy exterior of the croissant was like the crust and the soft pumpkin-y almond cream in the middle was like the pie filling.

Of course, I had very high expectations for the chocolate hazelnut because - hello, chocolate and hazelnut. And they certainly met those expectations! Traditionally, doubles are topped with sliced almonds, but I thought I'd switch it up and top it with coarsely chopped hazelnuts, which was a very good decision. Good job, me. 

Doubles can be made all the way up to the last stage before baking, wrapped in plastic or an airtight container, and reserved in the fridge for up to three days. Simply pop them into the oven whenever you want a tasty little treat. They're perfect for a slow Sunday morning filled with multiple mugs of tea and a cozy blanket.

Double Baked Almond Croissants 
Makes 4 croissants

Almond Cream

250 g almond meal
24 g all-purpose flour
250 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
250 g icing sugar
150 g eggs

Pumpkin Pie Almond Croissants

2 day old plain croissants

250 g almond cream
100 g pumpkin purée
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon vanilla powder

200 g sliced almonds

Chocolate Hazelnut Almond Croissants

Praline paste

125 g hazelnuts
46 g granulated sugar
13 g water

Chocolate Hazelnut Filling

2 day old chocolate croissants

250 g almond cream
25 g praline paste
5 g cocoa powder

200 g hazelnuts, coarsely chopped

Icing sugar and cocoa powder to finish

For the almond cream, sift the almond meal and flour into a medium bowl. Set aside. Combine the butter and icing sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on low speed until the mixture is pale and fluffy. 

Add the dry ingredients and eggs alternately, starting with the dry. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl after each addition. Once the almond cream is completed, scale out 250 g into one bowl and 250 g into another bowl. You should have three bowl of almond cream. Place a piece of plastic wrap over each bowl.

Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to 3 days.

Halve the plain and chocolate croissants and place on a silpat or parchment lined baking sheet. Set aside.

For the pumpkin pie doubles, combine 250 g of the almond cream with the pumpkin purée. Mix the spices together and add to the pumpkin cream. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large circular tip. Reserve in the fridge.

For the chocolate hazelnut doubles, make the praline paste. 

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Place the hazelnut on a parchment lined sheet pan and roast until golden brown and fragrant, about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes. The hazelnuts need to be warm and de-skinned when they are added to the caramel.

While the hazelnuts are roasting, combine the sugar and water in a saucepan and place over low heat to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to high and cook the syrup to 116 C. Add the warm hazelnuts now and stir to coat them evenly. Continue cooking the hazelnuts and syrup until they are a deep amber colour and no sandy white bits remain. Spread onto a silpat lined baking sheet to cool completely. Once cooled, place the caramelized hazelnut in a small food processor or vitamix. Blend until a smooth and liquidy paste forms, about 8 to 12 minutes. 

Combine the hazelnut paste with the 250 g of almond cream and the cocoa powder. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large circular tip. Pipe the chocolate hazelnut cream into the two chocolate croissants. Pipe the pumpkin cream into the two plain croissants. Close the croissants.

Heat up the remaining plain almond cream in the microwave for about 30 seconds, until it is slightly warm and a little viscous, but not liquidy. Using a pastry brush, generously coat the outsides of the croissants in almond cream, making sure to get the sides. Gently press the pumpkin croissants into the sliced almonds, making sure to cover the whole surface with sliced almonds. Repeat with the chocolate hazelnut croissants, but press them into the coarsely chopped hazelnuts.

You can reserve the croissants in the fridge at this point, covered or stored in an airtight container. 

Preheat the oven to 330 F. Bake the croissants until golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.

Dust the pumpkin pie and chocolate hazelnuts croissants with icing sugar. Using a bench scraper or a piece of paper, cover one half of the chocolate croissant and dust with cocoa powder. Serve warm.