Almost everyone is familiar with the croissant as a staple of French cuisine. Here is a croissant recipe with a Lebanese touch. A flaky-buttery pastry filled with zaatar and topped with sesame seeds. Anytime you visit Lebanon, you won’t have any trouble finding these treats. Almost all bakeries or pastry shops sell these for breakfast.
Now if you think that only pastry chefs can make croissant, I am here to tell you that you are wrong. Though the process involves a lot of manual labor, but the task is not hard and it is worth all the effort.
Zaatar and croissant is a smart combo. A warm zaatar croissant piping from the oven with a cup of tea is a wonderful start for the day. Give these heavenly treats a try, and your house will smell like a bakery! Happy eating!
1 kg. /2 lb. 4 oz. all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
¾ cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten (for the dough)
1 cup lukewarm water
1 cup lukewarm whole milk
350 g. /12 oz. butter, chilled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten (for brushing the pastries before baking)
For the filling:
1/3 cup zaatar+ 5 tablespoons canola oil, to make a spreadable paste
¾ cup of sesame seeds, to top the pastries with
In a large bowl, combine the flour, dry yeast, salt, sugar and vanilla.
Add the milk, water and eggs, knead the dough thoroughly. (You may need a bit less or more water than called for. The amount of moisture determines how much more you need to add). Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow it to rest for one hour to double in size.
Roll the dough into a rectangle ½ inch / about 1 cm thick over a floured surface.
Message the butter until it is just pliable and not soft.
Smear the butter over half of the rectangle. Fold the unbuttered section over and seal the edges.
Flour your rolling pin and roll the dough. The butter should be pliable enough to roll smoothly with the dough. Fold the dough like folding a letter and freeze for 20 minutes.
Remove the dough from the freezer and start rolling it one more time to a rectangle, our goal is to diffuse the butter with the dough while both are cold; this will create the layers in the croissant while baking. Continue rolling and diffusing; one more time fold the dough like folding a letter and freeze it for another 20 minutes.
Remove it from the freezer and roll and diffuse for the last time. Fold like a letter, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for a minimum of 7 hours.
To shape the croissant:
Roll the dough into a large rectangle 11/4 cm/ ½ inch thick.
Using a pizza wheel or a sharp knife, trim the edges of the dough.
Divide the rectangle into equal triangles. Spread 1 tablespoon of the zaatar paste onto the center of each triangle
Take the bottom of the triangle at its widest part, using your hands, tightly roll it into a crescent shape.
Place the croissant into a pre-lined baking tray, keeping 2.5 cm/1 inch space between one another.
Brush the top of the croissant with the beaten egg and sprinkle some sesame seeds down the center of each croissant. Set aside for 40 minutes to double in size.
Bake in a preheated oven to, 180 °C/350°F, to a golden brown color. Enjoy!
Note 1: Zaatar: A blend that is incredibly versatile in it utility. Standard ingredients include thyme, sumac, sesame seeds and oregano. You can find zaatar at Middle Eastern grocery stores.
Note 2: Remember to check the expiration date on the package of yeast!
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