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The coconut filing adds a nice contrast to the deep hue of these classic croissants. Making croissants from scratch takes time, so start this recipe on Friday evening if you plan to serve them at Sunday brunch. Using a pre-ferment develops both gluten and flavour in the dough. Think of it as a cheater's sourdough starter.

Servings: 10

FOR THE CHARCOAL CROISSANTS

PRE-FERMENT

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 tbsp charcoal powder

2/3 cup water

⅛ tsp active dry yeast

CROISSANT DOUGH

Pre-ferment

2¾ cups all-purpose flour

2 tbsp charcoal powder

2 tbsp sugar

1¼ tsp salt

1½ tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature

½ cup water

¼ cup plus 1 tsp milk

1 tsp active dry yeast

TO FOLD IN

250 g unsalted butter at room temperature

EGG WASH

1 large egg

Pinch salt

1 tsp water

FOR THE COCONUT FILLING

1½ cups coconut milk

1 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut

5 tbsp sugar

6½ oz cream cheese, softened

1 tbsp dark rum

¼ tsp coconut essence (optional)

1 large egg

Pinch of salt

1 tsp water

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

Method

FOR THE CHARCOAL CROISSANTS

In a medium-sized bowl, mix the ingredients for the pre-ferment until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment at room temperature for 10 hours.

In a large bowl, make the croissant dough by combining the flour, charcoal, sugar and salt. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients until well combined. In a small saucepan warm the water and milk until body temperature, sprinkle in the yeast and allow it to dissolve for a few minutes. Combine the liquids, flour and pre-ferment. Mix until combined.

Turn dough out onto a clean, floured surface. Knead for around 4 minutes until it has become smooth and elastic (it should make a small transparent “window” when stretched). Place dough on a sheet pan, cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.

On a clean, floured surface roll dough into a 10-inch by 20-inch rectangle, dust off excess flour. In a bowl, work the butter by hand until it has the consistency of toothpaste. Place the dough long side in front of you and imagine you’re going to fold it into three, like a pamphlet. Spread all the butter on the left two thirds of the dough using your fingers or a spatula, leaving a ½-inch border. Fold the unbuttered right third over the middle third. Fold the remaining left side overtop. You should have 3 layers of dough, each separated by a layer of butter.

Turn the dough so the ends are facing left and right. Roll dough into a 10-inch by 20-inch rectangle and fold into thirds again. Place on a sheet pan, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Repeat the folding process, again folding the dough into thirds. Place it back onto the sheet pan, wrap well and freeze for 1 hour.

Make the egg wash by combining the egg, salt and water. Roll the dough into a 20-inch by 12-inch rectangle, with the long side closest to you. Using a ruler, mark the dough at 4-inch intervals along the bottom and top of the rectangle. Cut the dough into triangles 4 inches wide at the base. Make a 1-inch long nick in the base of each triangle.

Holding both sides of the base taught, roll it towards the tip, forming a croissant. Place the finished croissants on parchment-lined baking sheets, 5 per sheet. Brush croissants with egg wash, cover with plastic wrap, let rise until at least double in size. Gently egg wash a second time and allow the croissants to sit for 10 minutes uncovered.

Preheat oven to 425 F with the racks in the lower half. Put croissants in the oven and reduce temperature to 400 F. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, rotating trays after 10 minutes, until bottoms are browned. If in doubt, break one open to check if it’s cooked. Allow to cool.

FOR THE COCONUT FILLING

Heat oven to 350 F.

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring coconut milk, desiccated coconut and sugar to a boil, stirring often, until thick and reduced by two thirds. Add cream cheese, rum and coconut essence if using. Stir to combine.

Split the croissant in half lengthwise. Fill each croissant and replace the top.

Mix the egg and salt with water. Brush each croissant with the egg and sprinkle with shredded coconut. Bake 10 minutes until filling is hot and top is browned.