Development of the Lune Finger Bun Croissant was a delicious meander down memory lane. Especially that Boston icing (turns out, adult Kate still can’t get enough of that).
The old saying goes that breakfast is the most important meal of the day but, growing up, for me it was all about afternoon tea. When that 3.30pm school bell rang, all I was thinking about was what Mum would have procured for me to eat. The best days were when I’d walk in the door and see a Bakers Delight brown paper bag on the kitchen bench. Number one favourite item: the finger bun with Boston icing. I just couldn’t get enough of that sweet, whipped coconutty goodness. Because I’ve never been one to shy away from butter, Mum would cut mine in half and spread it with the good stuff.
There was something deeply comforting in that simple, delicious finger bun. It was a celebratory marker for the end of another school day, it provided an important sugar hit to fuel me through the imminent homework hour and, most of all, it felt like a huge hug from my mum – someone who understood intrinsically that an edible moment of joy is a precious gift to bestow upon someone.
Development of the Lune Finger Bun Croissant was a delicious meander down memory lane. Especially that Boston icing (turns out, adult Kate still can’t get enough of that). Can I also say that, in doing my “research”, I stumbled upon the Bakers Delight website and, frankly, the price tag on their finger bun is an absolute STEAL?
The Lune Finger Bun Croissant is a pretty bougie version, but it hits all the compulsory notes, with the added bonus of a little croissant pizazz. The investment of effort for this recipe is small in comparison to the resulting delicious nostalgia trip.
6 day-old croissants
Desiccated coconut, to garnish
500g frozen strawberries
50g caster (superfine) sugar
120g (½ cup) strawberry puree
250g jus fraise
Coconut Whip Icing
100g thickened cream
15g caster (superfine) sugar
100g coconut milk powder, sifted
300g double (heavy) cream
Milk and Coconut Frangipane
200g butter, at room temperature
200g caster (superfine) sugar
Pinch of salt
100g milk powder
75g blanched almond meal
75g desiccated coconut
For the Jus Fraise: Place the strawberries and sugar in a heatproof bowl and toss the strawberries to coat them in the sugar. Cover the bowl tightly with cling film. Meanwhile, bring a saucepan filled one-third with water to a boil, then reduce the heat to keep the water at a simmer. Place the bowl of strawberries and sugar over the pan of simmering water and cook for 2–3 hours, until the strawberries are mushy and discoloured, and liquid has begun to leach out.
Carefully remove the bowl from the pot (both will be very hot) and allow to cool. Once cooled, strain the strawberries, separating the fruit pulp from the liquid. Reserve the liquid (the jus fraise) and the strawberry pulp. Puree the strawberry pulp. Both will be required for the Strawberry Syrup.
For the Strawberry Syrup: Place all the ingredients in a small saucepan and stir over a medium heat, allowing the syrup to come to the boil. Once boiling, remove from the heat.
For the Coconut Whip Icing: Start a day in advance. In a saucepan, heat milk, cream and sugar until just simmering. Add the coconut milk powder and whisk constantly until the mixture comes to the boil. Continue to cook for a couple of minutes, whisking, allowing the mixture to thicken. Take off the heat and pour into a clean heatproof bowl. Place cling film over the surface of the coconut “base” to prevent a skin from forming, then store in the fridge overnight.
The following day, just before you serve, put the bowl of your mixer in the fridge for a few minutes to chill. Transfer the coconut base into the bowl of the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, along with the double cream, and whip until it forms stiff peaks. Keep a close eye while it is whipping because there is a fine line between perfectly whipped and split! Transfer into a piping bag fitted with a size 11 round nozzle.
For Milk and Coconut Frangipane: Beat the butter, sugar and salt in a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, continuing to beat and waiting until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl after incorporating the first egg. Finally, with the mixer on low speed, mix in the milk powder, almond meal and desiccated coconut. Scrape the bowl down well, giving it a final mix by hand (with a spatula) to ensure all ingredients are well incorporated. Transfer the frangipane into a piping bag fitted with a size 11 star nozzle.
To Assemble: Preheat your oven to 180°C fan and line a large baking tray with baking paper. Using a large serrated knife, cut the croissants in half. Brush the cut side of both halves generously with the warm strawberry syrup. Pipe a healthy wiggle of Milk and Coconut Frangipane on the bottom half of each croissant. Replace the top half of each croissant, cupping your hand and gently securing each top. Place the prepared croissants on the lined baking tray and bake for 20–25 minutes, until the frangipane inside is set. Check this by carefully lifting the lid of one of the croissants with a fork. If the frangipane still looks like cake batter, it is not yet ready. Bake for a few more minutes and check again.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely to room temperature. If you try to ice the finger buns while they are still warm, the icing will simply melt and slide off.
Once cooled, the finger buns can be iced. Hold the piping bag with coconut whip at one end of the croissant and begin piping, zigzagging left to right, making your zigzag bigger as you approach the “nose” of the croissant, then reducing it as you reach the other end, aiming for a diamond shape. Repeat for each of the 6 baked croissants.
The pièce de résistance is the chewy desiccated coconut that coats the icing. Very carefully holding the pastry from beneath, dip the icing into a bowl of desiccated coconut. Be sure to dip gently. Serve immediately!
TIP: For pink Coconut Whip Icing, add a tiny drop of pink food colouring just before whipping.
You’ll find this recipe in Kate Reid’s new book Lune: Croissants all Day, all Night, which is out now!
First published in ed#679