Italian croissants and breakfast in a bar for the Italian Table Talk

Date maggio 20, 2013

The coffee shop was simple and cozy: a long glass counter, polished to perfection, where cakes, scones, eggs, bacon and beans were neatly arranged. In front of the counter, facing the bright wide windows, tiny white tables for two people. Outside of that little café there was Ireland, the boundless meadows of the Kilkenny Castle, bus as the only means of transport and the curiosity of a continuous discovery.

That was my second time in Ireland, a week in August for the university summer break, a breath of fresh air between the exams of advertising and semiotics. I was travelling with my friend Laura, companion of many road trips. We decided to have breakfast in that coffee shop, curious to see how would feel to eat as a local. I still remember how it was called: three item special. An inviting name, though we probably misunderstood the real meaning of special at the moment. With the help of a not too trained English we ended up ordering two three item specials and three other additional dishes from the menu selection. We sat slightly intimidated at the table and we waited. Soon after two waitresses came out from behind the counter and began to bring our breakfast. Beans with tomato, scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, toasts, butter and jam. Then a moment of embarrassment: we run out of space on our table. They looked at each other, then they took a look around and decided to move a table and add it to ours to have extra space. And they kept on bringing the smoked ham, cakes and scones with jam.

We not hold back laughter, while the other regulars of the small coffee shop in Kilkenny looked at those two naive tourists with a mixture of disbelief and tenderness. Needless to say, the breakfast came out of the cafeteria with us well hidden in backpacks in the form of snacks and sandwiches for lunch. Too abundant, too far from our habits, but perhaps for that very reason so indelible in my memory.

As you might have heard, the Italian breakfast is quite another thing. First of all, in most cases – except for individual preferences – breakfast is sweet and not salty, and then it often verges on the routine and monotony. I know people whose names I won’t make now – mum – that have been eating the same breakfast for thirty years: scalding caffellatte with three fette biscottate at dawn every day. Every day. Also for Christmas, even for her birthday, in winter and summer, that’s her breakfast.

We felt it was the right time, after a year of Italian Table Talk – already a year! – to cover the topic of breakfast and tell you about our preferences, our rituals and our memories related to the first meal of the day, which according to experts – and according to my mum – is also the most important one. Valeria wakes us up with the raisin buns of her childhood, Emiko has instead baked a tray of little cherry tarts which can put a smile on the face of the most surly person, while Jasmine made ​​a classic cake perfect in its simplicity, the torta margherita. I am presenting today an classic of the breakfast at the bar, the Italian croissants known as cornetti.

If you follow me on Instagram (do you follow me on Instagram? nooo? You can find me as JulsKitchen if you ask) you may have noticed that I like to vary the breakfast, from crepes to bread pudding cake, from yogurt with fresh fruit and cereals to rice pudding. I do not have a tradition and I’m very careful not to fall into the routine: I enjoy changing, as far as possible, to wake up with a bit of curiosity. It is a different matter when it comes to breakfast at the bar.

Having breakfast in a bar in Italy can be stressful if you’re not used to it and you suffer from the usual performance anxiety that hits you in the most important public occasions. At first comes the choice of the sweet pastry you are going to eat or dip in your cappuccino: I usually come closer to the counter and I start pointing out the various croissants. Which kind of croissant is that? apricot jam. That one? wholemeal and honey. That over there? chocolate. There instead? custard and apple. Then I understand by the impatient tone of the waitress that I have asked too many questions, so I begin by saying with little certainty: then I’ll take a croissant with… moment of reflection during which I mentally try all the combinations… nothing inside. Is there a plain croissant? And I grab with an apologetic smile the delicate croissant, often still warm, that the waitress hands me wrapped in a paper towel.

Then it comes the time to order coffee. Usually in the bar at breakfast time there is a large crowding all around the coffee counter: the usual, macchiato, ristretto, corto, a cappuccino, a latte macchiato, a long coffee. Wall Street at end of the day is much more quiet than a bar at breakfast. Requests are made ​​in a tone that ranges from brisk to pleading, this being me when trying for the fourth time to order a coffee and someone else next to me gets his order before me.

Then, with your coffee in the balance in one hand and the croissant – the empty croissant – in the other, you move towards a table if you’re lucky, or you press yourself in a corner of the counter to finally enjoy your breakfast. It is probably clear that I prefer to have breakfast at home, with all the calm of the world, without having to fight for my coffee. Though the still warm croissants have more than a reason to be appreciated, especially if you are lucky enough to find those made as they should be made, with good butter. Making them at home takes time and patience, especially in flaking, but every once in awhile I assure you it is worth a try.

  

I learnt the following recipe during my pastry course last year, I cut down the ingredients to have a normal amount of croissants – 40 cornetti are perhaps too many also for me - and simplified the procedure in order to make them ​​easily at home. The result is the cornetto you might order at the bar, with its shiny surface, not too sweet nor too buttery. Unlike the French croissant, the Italian cornetto has more sugar and has also eggs and orange peel that are absent in the croissants, thus resulting … well technically heavier, but the orange hint will hide the amount of butter still present and most importantly the egg gives a pale yellow colour which helps to add a bit of happiness to the morning. Ready to dust with flour your hands and nose?

 

5.0 from 4 reviews
Italian croissants
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast, baked goods
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 10
You'll need
  • 125 g of strong flour
  • 125 g of all purpose flour
  • 4 g of salt
  • 12 g of fresh brewer's yeast
  • 50 g of whole milk
  • 40 ml of water
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 vanilla bean
  • Zest of one organic orange
  • 50 g caster sugar
  • 30 g butter + 125 g of butter to laminate the croissants
  • 70 g of apricot jelly
How to make it
  1. Add the strong flour, the all purpose flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Dissolve the yeast in warm milk and add it into the flour, then add the water and the lightly beaten egg. Knead at medium speed for about ten minutes with the hook attachment.
  2. Add the butter at room temperature and the sugar mixed with the seeds of the vanilla bean and the grated zest of an orange. Knead for ten minutes with the hook attachment.
  3. Remove the dough from the bowl and put it in a plastic bag that has enough space to let it rise and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours.
  4. Prepare the butter, so the day after you will have all the ingredients ready. Use the butter at room temperature and with the help of a rolling pin spread it between two sheets of baking paper in a square sheet, as regular as possible. Store in the fridge.
  5. The next day, remove the dough from the fridge and turn it on a well-floured work surface. Roll it with a rolling pin on a disk slightly larger than the butter sheet. Place the butter in the centre of the dough and gently pull the four sides of the dough over the butter, to close it inside as in an envelope.
  6. With the help of the rolling pin and other flour stretch the dough so that it could triple its length but maintain the same width.
  7. Make a three-fold: mentally divide up the dough into three equal parts and fold on the middle part the right side, then the left one.
  8. Seal all the edges by pinching the dough together. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and roll out again in a rectangle sheet so that it quadruples its length.
  9. Now is the time to give a four-fold: mentally divide up the dough into four equal parts and fold the two outer parts on the two inside. Fold again to close as a book.
  10. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest in the fridge for an hour.
  11. After this time, remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it into a sheet of 5 mm thickness.
  12. With a sharp knife or a pizza wheel cut out strips, then long and narrow triangles. Each triangle should weigh about 50 g.
  13. Make a small incision of 1 cm on the short side of the triangle and wrap the triangles on themselves from the short side. Fold the sides of the croissant just formed toward the center, to give a crescent shape, and put the tip of the triangle under the croissant so that it won't open while rising.
  14. Arrange the croissants in a tray lined with baking paper and let them rise in a warm place for 2 hours or until they have doubled their volume.
  15. When they are ready heat the oven to 200°C.
  16. Bake the croissants for about 15 minutes, until golden brown. In the meantime heat the apricot jelly in the microwave or in a bain-marie with a tablespoon of water. As soon as the croissants are out of the oven brush them with the apricot jelly. Enjoy your breakfast!

 

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25 Responses to “Italian croissants and breakfast in a bar for the Italian Table Talk”

  1. Rosa said:

    Beautiful croissants! They look perfect. The best breakfast item ever.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    [Rispondi]

  2. Emiko said:

    Oh Giulia, I love love love the story of your Irish breakfast! SO different to colazione all’Italiana! I must have those anglo saxon breakfast genes in me as I can never get by with a pastry and coffee for breakfast, but I wouldn’t be able to walk past home baked cornetti – what a TREAT!

    [Rispondi]

  3. Italian Table Talk: Breakfast in Florence & Crostatine | Emiko Davies said:

    [...] month to make breakfast the topic of Italian Table Talk with Giulia whipping up a fresh batch of cornetti and Valeria going back to her childhood with panini con l’uva, raisin buns. Jasmine does cake [...]

  4. Franglais kitchen, Nazima said:

    Lovely post – I do love a huge hotel breakfast on holidays. Your croissants though look the perfect thing to bring a feeling of special to a home cooked weekend version!

    [Rispondi]

  5. Alison said:

    Giulia, thank you soooo much for this! I have several times improvised cornetti by altering a croissant recipe. We call them faux cornetti. They are good but not the cornetti of my memories and dreams. My family amd I far prefer cornetti to croissants ( our children each fondlynremember the time when i let each of them go to the bar by themselves to retrieve our breakfast when we were living in Rome and Siena. I will be joyfully donning my apron and trying my hand at these as soon as possible :) thanks again!!!!

    [Rispondi]

  6. Flavia S. said:

    Cornetti are the only thing I eat for breakfast when I am in Italy. My favorites are the apricot or cherry jam-filled ones paired with a cappuccino. These are on my (very long) list of things to learn how to make. Beautiful post as always!

    [Rispondi]

  7. Asha@FSK said:

    Oh Juls! I cannot wait to do just that in Ireland! ;)

    But more importantly, I want to make those gorgeous, awesome croissants! Like NOW!

    [Rispondi]

  8. Sarvani (baker in disguise) said:

    Oooo.. these sound soo good.. I once made sticky buns with a brioche dough with a hint of orange in them.. the orange is so refreshing! they were another famous Julia’s recipe!! ;)

    [Rispondi]

  9. Kankana said:

    LOL LOL that was embarrassing. It reminded me of this time I was in China for work and a similar situation happened with me and a friend.
    I am horrible with breakfast. Mostly would stick to cereal and yogurt. It’s funny cause all breakfast-y items are my fav food and most often I land up eating those for lunch or dinner :)
    I never made croissants at home, but I think I will soon!

    [Rispondi]

  10. Valeria said:

    Oh, I can’t agree more. The diversity of options, the pleasure of a breakfast at home, comfortably sipping coffee while reading the news, enjoying a big bowl of something nutritios and tasty is so much better than fighting for a corner of counter to sip your (short, too-short-to-flush-down-the-croissant) coffee. Plus, as I mentioned, one cornetto (and I tend to choose the vuoto, too, if I don’t find the French-style, almond one) just doesn’t fill me up at all. Now, if I made them at home it would be a completely different story –I could at least have three :) So maybe I should do the full recipe LOL

    [Rispondi]

  11. Laura (Tutti Dolci) said:

    Your croissants are absolutely gorgeous!

    [Rispondi]

  12. marcellina said:

    I have always wanted to make cornetti! Thank you for the recipe! I did find it strange when last year I visited my relatives in Italy many times breakfast was a “long-life” pastry and yet lunch and dinner were a feast of home made YUM! Though one cousin produce a delicious yoghurt cake! My daughter is through and through Italian – an espresso and a sweet cake. I loved reading you experience in Ireland.

    [Rispondi]

  13. Amy @swiss miss in the kitchen said:

    oh Wow! These croissants look PERFECT!!! Amazing work :)

    [Rispondi]

  14. Alessandra (DinnerinVenice) said:

    Ah, such buttery goodness!!!!

    [Rispondi]

  15. Italian croissants and breakfast in a bar for t... said:

    [...] Italian croissants are the most typical pastry you can enjoy in a breakfast in a bar. Learn how to make them with a step by step explanation anf enjoy!  [...]

  16. Italian croissants and breakfast in a bar for the Italian Table Talk | goodthingsfromitaly said:

    [...] See on en.julskitchen.com [...]

  17. Micaela said:

    I made them last week and can’t wait to bake them again!!!! I have tried with other recipes, but these are the best by far!!!! Many thanks for sharing!

    [Rispondi]

    Giulia Risposta:

    thank you so much for the feedback Micaela! I am also in love with this recipe! many many many more baking happiness to you!

    [Rispondi]

  18. marbrill said:

    Beautiful – but please excuse my ignorance when I ask: what is strong flour?

    [Rispondi]

  19. Robby said:

    Hey Marbrill, strong flour, in Italy, is ‘OO’ flour – double zero.

    [Rispondi]

  20. Stella Fey said:

    I cannot thank you enough for this recipe! I knew when I read it that it was perfect, and my husband and I were longing for our Italian breakfast. Turned out beautifully, and I’m sure I will be making these regularly. Gracie mille!

    [Rispondi]

    stella fey Risposta:

    Darned autocorrect. Grazie, not gracie.

    [Rispondi]

  21. Puglia Party Day 25 – GUEST POST – Almond Cornetti | Mangia Bene said:

    […] are hard to come by in the UK, so short of making your own (try this cornetti recipe), you may just have to resort to using croissants, a day or two old if […]

  22. Elisabetta said:

    meravigliosi croissants!!!complimenti e lieta di conoscerti :)
    grazie per la ricetta…li provero’^__^

    [Rispondi]

  23. Cranberry and vanilla rolls | Juls' Kitchen said:

    […] the most constant runner, I choose my workouts in the kitchen. Kneading the dough to later enjoy Italian croissants is definitely a win-win […]

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