Almond Croissant at Japonaise Bakery and Cafe in Brookline
I had an almond croissant today at Sel de la Terre Long Wharf’s boulangerie and it was horrible. The dough was cold, dense and soggy with butter, while the almond paste filling was rigid and far too sweet. The croissant was also rectangular in shape which, although it works perfectly for chocolate croissants, somehow just seems wrong with almond croissants which should have a half-moon horn shape. As I half-heartedly ate this botched version of my favorite breakfast pastry, I wished I was sitting in the quaint, humble little Japanese cafe in Brookline, happily devouring the best almond croissant I’ve had outside of Paris.
I know, it’s pretty random, but in the case of this dish, the Japanese bakery far outshines the “French” one. Incredibly fresh, flaky dough, crunchy at the toasted edges and at the tapered tips of the horn-shaped pastry; moist everywhere else – the sign of a perfect amount of butter in the preparation. Smooth, not too sweet, home-made and corn-syrup-free almond puree filling evenly distributed inside. The sweetness of the filling does not overpower the dough but brings out its own subtle flavors. The toasted almonds glued to the surface are deliciously smokey in flavor and their irresistible crunch adds to that of the dough they were laid on.
This, ladies and gentleman, is what an almond croissant should be.