Every year on the 11th of November, Poland is celebrating Independence day. Thousands of people are marching in the cities across the country on various occasions.
But there is one more tradition which is definitely worth to mention. And it is a food-related one. In the Wielkopolska region (Greater Poland voivodeship) besides Independence day, people are also celebrating the St. Martin’s day. (św. Marcina)
And on that day, people are eating a so-called St. Martin’s croissant. A croissant which recipe is legally and geographically protected not only in Poland but in the whole European Union.
The history of St. Martin’s croissant.
The history of St. Martin’s croissant started in Poznan in 1891 when the priest called Jan Lewicki said to the Catholics that they should give out something to the poor people.
The legend says that when the St. Martin was riding his white horse, he lost 1 of his horseshoes. That was found by one of the bakers who got inspired by its shape and decided to bake a croissant like that.
The croissant was filled with almonds.
After a few years, the croissant got very popular that it was baked all over the region. The rich people were buying it in the bakeries and the poor people got it for free.
Since then each year people in Poznan (the main city of Greater Poland) bake and eat thousands of croissants on the 11th of November. According to the latest data, they eat more than 700 thousand croissants only on that day.
The protection of the St. Martin’s croissant.
As I told you before the recipe of St. Martin’s croissant is legally protected in the whole EU. If you want to make an original one it has to be made with local ingredients and according to the rules.
And one last interesting fact about is that the original croissant has 81 layers. The dough is folded 3 times, then again 3 times, again 3 times and at the end again 3 times.
In order to give you the best possible recipe, I have decided to use the one from a certified St. Martin’s croissant bakery. All the credit goes to them.
The recipe is long and takes up a few hours, but just take your time to stay calm in every situation. Once, the croissants will be ready you will be very happy.
So how to make the St. Martin’s croissant?
St. Martin’s croissant. (Rogal Świętomarciński).Course: DessertCuisine: PolishDifficulty: Hard
The real Polish classic and one of the most delicious Polish desserts.
1 cup of white poppy seeds
2 cups sponge cake crumbs
1 cup of caster sugar
120g of nuts (a mix of walnuts and almonds is perfect)
120g of raisins
400g of margarine
10ml of almond extract
120g of candied orange peel
2 free range eggs
4 1/2 cups of flour (flour 500)
2 free range eggs
20g of fresh yeast
1/2 cup of caster sugar
1 cup of warm milk (the bets is to use full fat milk with 3,2% fat)
1/2 cup of oil
2 flat teaspoons of salt
300g of French margarine
200g of powdered sugar
70g of chopped walnuts
- Place the white poppy seeds into a sifter and rinse under cold running water. Then transfer to a bowl and pour over with hot boiling water. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and leave for at least 60 minutes.
- After the time drain the poppy seeds from all the excess water. The best is to use a bag for making the nut milks. Transfer the drained poppy seeds into a poppy seed blender and blend twice until smooth.
Transfer to the pot and add the sugar and the margarine. Mix well and saute for several minutes over medium-low heat. Just be careful and do not let the poppy seeds to burn.
- Add into the filling the nuts (walnuts and almonds), raisins, candied orange peel, almond extract and stir well. Once ready, place the filling into a cold place (fridge can be good too) and leave to cool down completely. If the filling is too thick and the pieces of nuts or rasins are bigger you can blend the filling in the poppy seed blender one more time.
- Sift the flour into a bigger bowl. Then add the yeast dissolved in the milk, sugar, eggs and salt. Stir gently until you will have an elastic dough. Then add the oil and kneed for few more minutes.
The final dough should stay a bit sticky and cold.
- Place the final dough on a flat surface and roll out into a rectangle, then cover with a cling foil and place into the fridge and cool down. (remember, the dough should be a size which fits into your fridge)
- Transfer the cold dough on a flat surface dusted with some flour. Spread the margarine on 2/3 of the dough, leaving 1/3 empty.
- Now you will fold the dough.
Fold the left 1/3 of the dough into the center and then the right 1/3 of the dough on the center. Roll out the dough into a rectangle (same size as your first dough) using just a tiny amount of flour.
Repeat the folding and the rolling another 3 times.
- Transfer the dough into the fridge and let it cool completely for 5-10 hours.
- After the dough is ready, place it again on a flat surface and cut lengtweise into 2 smaller rectangles. Then cut each rectangle into triangles.
- Spread 2 table spoons of the filling on each triangle, and roll them like normal croissants. Start the rolling at the base of the triangle.
At the end curve both ends so the final croissant gets the horseshoe shape. Repeat this step with all the triangles.
- Place the ready croissants on a flat surface and leave to rise until they doubled in size.
- Beat the 2 eggs with water (ration 1:1) and smear over each croissant.
- Bake the croissants in a preheated oven at 180°C for about 20 minutes or until they get brown on top.
- Make the frosting from the powdered sugar and 2-3 table spoons of water. The final frosting should be thick enough to stay on top of the croissants.
- Pour over the frosting over the croissants while they still warm and sprinkle with the chopped wallnuts.
- Enjoy your St. Martin’s croissants.
- For blending the poppy seeds do not use a regular blender. It could make the filling runny.
- If the filling is too thick and the pieces of nuts or rasins are bigger you can blend the filling in the poppy seed blender one more time.
- Before you start to fold the dough you can stick the sides of the dough togheter with your fingers. Thanks to this step the margarine will stay inside.
- In case your frosting is not having the right consistency feel free to add more powdered sugar or water.