Thanksgiving Croissants: Leftovers Made Luscious
Happy Thanksgiving! Right now, your turkey may be roasting in the oven and you are likely anxiously anticipating the feast the lies ahead. And if you’re like me, you’re also dreaming up creative uses for all those leftovers that will later be filling the fridge. What to do with all of it? Looking for culinary inspiration? Are you feeling that you can’t face a microwaved pile of turkey and congealed gravy tomorrow (or maybe late tonight)?
Well here is a delicious answer! Taking a cue from Momofuku Milk Bar in New York, I decided to create this Thanksgiving croissant. The creative chefs at Momofuku Milk Bar began creating their Thanksgiving croissant back in 2011. They sell 300 of them a day, from November 1 until the day before Thanksgiving.
If you live close to one of their five locations in New York, stop by and enjoy one. You can also follow my tutorial and make your own. These are bound to impress your family and friends. Did I mention they are beyond delicious?
All you need are your leftovers. I used turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, and served the leftover gravy on the side. You can be as creative as you like. Be careful of fillings that are too wet — they might weigh down the croissant dough and make it soggy.
And to my Classic Croissant at Home students, this would be a great way to use up those scraps in the freezer. Fresh dough or scrap – let’s get baking!
How to make Thanksgiving croissants
Roll the dough out into a long strip 9” tall by 18″ to 24”. Length depends on the amount of dough you have. Trim 1/8 of an inch off the edges to open up the sidewalls of the croissants and allow for lift.
The triangles should be 4” wide and 8” tall.
The first cut on the bottom left-hand side is one half the base. The rest will be the normal 4″. Using a pizza wheel or pastry cutter, cut from the first bottom left mark to the top right hand corner.
Cut a notch ½” in the center of each base and gently stretch the croissant to accommodate the filling.
Layer turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce in the center of the croissant. It is a good idea to start with the turkey since it’s dry and will protect the dough.
Roll the croissant from the bottom up. Try not to roll too tightly. Make sure the top tip of the croissant is on the bottom. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet about 3″ to 4” apart.
Cover and allow to rise until they are slightly puffy, about 20-25 minutes. When you squeeze the sides of the croissants, they should have a slight marshmallow texture and your finger imprint should not spring back.
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F and make a batch of egg wash, one egg beaten up until it is smooth.
Once they are proofed, gently egg wash. I sprinkled these with fresh thyme and coarse Maldon sea salt.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then, turn down the oven to 350 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes.
Start checking the croissants at this point. They should be an overall golden brown, even in the layers. Don’t be surprised if they take a little longer then 30 minutes to finishing baking. The above croissants took 35 minutes.
Serve the croissants warm with a little leftover gravy on the side.
You might also enjoy Colette’s tutorial on how to make Cronuts at home. Be sure to come back to the Craftsy blog tomorrow morning for a roundup of more creative ways to use Thanksgiving leftovers!
About Colette Christian
Based in Los Angeles, Colette is a certified executive pastry chef who has taught at several area schools, including Le Cordon Bleu. Colette is a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago and the New England Culinary Institute. She has extensive training in baking and pastry and is a CEPC, certified executive pastry chef.