This July, I’m the kitchen of the month at the Bread Baking Babes. This means I get to choose the bread we’re baking and I picked Cruffins! We’ve baked so much bread so it wasn’t easy to pick something new for us to make. Making Cruffins does involve rolling dough out thin, spreading filling and rolling it up just like we’ve done the previous couple of months. Yet, Cruffins are quite different.
Cruffins were all the rage some four or five years back. If the Cruffin is new to you, it is generally described as something between and a croissant and a muffin. Hence the name Cruffin. Actually it’s neither. It involves a laminated dough so I see the croissant part but it’s nothing like a muffin except the tin/ tray it is baked in!
The Cruffin is more a cross between a croissant and cinnamon roll, with spiced sugar (or filling of your choice) wrapped in a sweet spiral and baked in a muffin tray. The outside is crisp and lightly caramelized with buttery and soft layers on the inside. The lamination process for a Cruffin is slightly different so the layers are not quite as flaky as in a croissant.
The first Cruffin is said to have been made in 2013 by Kate Reid of Lune Croissanterie in Melbourne, Australia. It became popular in the US later when the Mr. Holmes Bakehouse in San Francisco made and trademarked it.
As I mentioned earlier, a Cruffin involves laminated dough. Unlike with croissants, we don’t need a butter block or to roll out chilled dough multiple times. Here an easier method is used. The dough is rolled out really thin and then room temperature soft butter (not melted) is spread on the dough. The dough is then rolled up and cut along the middle to reveal multiple layers similar to laminated dough. This means you end up with a buttery and soft but not flaky layered dough.
If you have a pasta machine, you can use it to roll out nice and thin dough layers. I don’t have one so I rolled the dough out by hand. I find it works well enough and required only about 120 gm of butter. If you can roll out the dough even thinner you could need more butter hence the recipe says 120 to 150 gm of butter.
I made my Cruffins with just butter as I personally prefer a more savoury Cruffin. I have baked them with chocolate and cinnamon sugar fillings and they’re all good. Otherwise don’t use any filling with the butter but just dust them with icing sugar or cinnamon sugar as soon as they come out of the oven. Another option is to add unsweetened cocoa to the dough for Chocolate Cruffins.
You could also try vanilla sugar in the filling. Cruffins can also be filled, like a donut, with jam, pastry cream, fruit curd, peanut butter, salted caramel or ganache. They can also be topped with a variety of toppings. I’m a bit of a purist here and prefer to keep things simple. You can also try a variety of savoury fillings.
This video is worth watching before starting out with Cruffin making. If you are a visual learner like me, they explain the process of laminating, rolling and shaping Cruffins easier. Ideally Cruffins are baked in muffin tins/ trays. If you want taller Cruffins that display the laminating/ layering beautifully, bake them in popover tins/trays or pudding moulds, if you have those. I used Dariole moulds. You can even try baking them in disposable paper coffee cups provided they’re oven safe.
- 1/4 cup sugar more for sweeter cruffin
- 1 1/4 tsp dry yeast
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 50 gm unsalted butter chilled
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup milk
- 120 to 150 gm unsalted butter at room temperature
- Icing sugar/Cinnamon sugar/ Melted chocolate etc
- If proofing yeast, mix together 1 tsp of the sugar, yeast and lukewarm water. Keep aside for 5 to 10 minutes till frothy. Otherwise just add the dry yeast directly to the flour with other ingredients and then add the water while kneading.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of kneading machine, mix together the proofed yeast, sugar, salt and chilled butter cut into small pieces. Add milk and knead into a soft and elastic dough that comes away from the side of the bowl. The dough should not be sticky. Add a little more milk or flour, as required to achieve this consistency of dough.
- Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to an oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it well. Cover and let the dough rise till double in volume. This should take between an hour to two depending on ambient temperature.
- In the meanwhile prepare your baking pan and keep aside. Butter and very lightly flour the cavities of your muffin or popover tray.
- Dust your working surface lightly with flour and turn the dough out. Lightly knead to deflate the dough. Divide into four equal pieces. Roll out each piece to a 60x20cm sized piece. The dough sheet will be very thin. If you have a pasta machine you can use that as it is easier to roll out thin sheets with it. I cut the dough into two pieces (60cm x 40cm each) and cut into 4 pieces after buttering each.
- Spread about 30 to 38 gm butter (depending on whether you’re using 120 gm or 150 gm of butter) of soft butter over each rolled out piece of dough. Cut each piece into half, lengthwise, creating two thin strips.
- Roll one thin strip into a tight roll. Place this at the edge of the second strip and continue rolling till you have one thick roll. This will give your cruffins more layers.
- Cut roll in half lengthwise. Roll each half, like a circle (cinnamon roll style)with the cut layers side showing the outside. Make sure to tuck both ends under so it doesn’t open up on baking. Place the roll in the prepared muffin or popover pan.
- Repeat with all the dough pieces. Cover the pan with a kitchen towel and allow to rise for about 45 minutes. The rolls should look puffy and have risen to almost the edge of the cavities.
- Bake the cruffins at 190C (375F) for about 30 minutes or till golden brown and done. Turn the m out onto a rack and let the cool. Dust with icing sugar or brush tops the with melted butter and dredge in cinnamon sugar. Serve warm with coffee or tea.
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