I recently read and enjoyed festive novel Boyfriend by Christmas by Jenny Stallard which tells of journalist Genie who dates her way across London in the ultimate work related challenge. She writes for website Coolhub as their dating and features writer and has a close working relationship with her colleagues, travel expert Rio and foodie Willow. In addition to Genie, Willow was a character I was also very fond of, and in her role as food writer for the site, she gets to review new restaurants, pop-ups and food products. Quite early on, Willow mentions a new food craze she is investigating: cruffins. I don’t know about you, but sometimes a word just sticks in your head and I love the idea of cruffins! In the book, they are a crumpet / muffin hybrid taking the breakfast world by storm which sounded delicious. However after a misspent evening on Google, cruffins are more popularly croissants crossed with muffins. Inspired by the book I have made my own version of this delectable treat: cruffins filled with cranberry buttercream (which tenuously makes them Christmassy!)
Now before I go ahead with this recipe I’d like to point out that this was very experimental and although my cruffins turned out not only edible but quite tasty (if I do say so myself), this recipe is far from perfect so if you’re brave enough to try them out, I’d love to know how you get on!
You will need a muffin tin and a piping bag for this recipe. It should make 8 cruffins (or six huge ones in my case!)
· 100g plain flour
· 150 strong white flour
· 30g caster sugar (plus extra for sprinkling)
· 200g unsalted butter, diced
· 75ml whole milk
· 1tbsp yeast
· ½ tsp salt
For the cranberry buttercream:
· 150g unsalted butter, softened
· 300g icing sugar
· 3tbsp smooth cranberry sauce
· 1 tbsp milk
1. In a large bowl, mix together the flours, sugar, salt, yeast and 100g of the butter. Mix it so that everything is combined but there are still large lumps of butter (this is to help the dough puff up when it bakes). Wrap the remaining butter in clingfilm and put it in the freezer (you’ll need it chilled later on).
2. Pour 75ml of water and milk a little at a time into the flour and butter mixture. Gently mix the liquid until a loose dough forms. Add extra water if need to get stray bits of flour. Shape the dough into a rectangle and place into the fridge for 45 minutes.
3. Lightly flour your clean work surface and roll out the dough into a rectangle three times long as it is wide. Grate the frozen butter over the top two thirds of the dough. Fold the bottom third over the middle third, and then the top third over top of that. Then wrap your folded dough in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for twenty minutes.
4. Remove from the fridge and roll the dough back into its original rectangle. Repeat the folding process as before including the 20 minutes chill time. Do this twice more after so the dough has been refolded and chilled a total of 4 times (long winded but it works in the end).
5. Roll the dough out into a rectangle that is about 40cm in length by 15cm wide. Trim the edges with a knife the lines are sharp and divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Roll your slice of pastry at a slight angle so you get a kind of cone shape and place into a greased muffin tin. Repeat with all the dough and loosely cover so that it can prove for 20 minutes.
6. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4. Sprinkle the cruffins with some caster sugar and bake in the centre of the oven for 20-30 minutes or until they a lovely and golden brown. Once cooked, leave to cool.
7. For the cranberry buttercream filling, in a new bowl, beat the butter until it is soft. Add half the icing sugar until smooth. Gradually add the rest of the icing sugar along with the milk until creamy and smooth. Add in the cranberry sauce and mix thoroughly together until you end up with a lovely thick pink frosting with a fruity tang to it.
8. Add your buttercream mix to a piping bag and push the nozzle into the cruffin. Pipe away until it is filled and swirl some buttercream around the top. Further decoration is optional!
I’ve never made croissants before, let alone cruffins and I was actually really pleased with how they turned out. I also ended up with a lot of leftover buttercream which was good for dipping chunky bits of pastry into, but would also make a lovely topping for cupcakes if you are so inclined. I apologise for the bad photos, my cruffins are not the most photogenic of food but they are delicious and I had a great time making them.
If you don’t feel like giving cruffins a go, that’s fine but I definitely recommend the book they were inspired by, Boyfriend by Christmas. Unlike lead character Genie, rather than dating my way across London this Christmas I’ll be at home, channelling Willow and eating cruffins.