Jump to the recipes: tiramisu, finger bun, and croissant ‘bread and butter’ pudding.
Author Kate Reid, “obsessed” with all things dairy, names tiramisu as one of her favourite desserts. “From a young, young age, Dad got me absolutely hooked on cream and whipped cream. And I’m like, ‘What is this dessert that’s basically just whipped cream, but it’s got chocolate and coffee and sponge through it?’” says the Melbourne-based director and founder of Lune , laughing.
They came up with this recipe at the Lune Lab, where they often feature croissants in innovative and unexpected ways. The dessert swaps savoiardi (ladyfingers) for croissant slices and is served in individual glasses for an extra-special touch. If savoiardi, “which has almost no flavour,” is delicious soaked in espresso and your alcohol of choice (Reid favours marsala, strega and sambuca), then surely leftover croissants would be, too.
“It was an easy choice to add that to the book, because it’s an easy one to make. You don’t need to make croissants from scratch to do it. You can just walk down to your local bakery and buy them and surprise people when they ask, ‘Oh, this isn’t a savoiardi biscuit. What is this amazing buttery flavour?’”
The sweet, yeasted finger bun is a nostalgic treat, sometimes studded with dried fruit (such as currants, raisins and sultanas), topped with pink icing and finished with desiccated coconut. “There has been a bit of a revival in Australia and New Zealand in recent times. Little artisan bakeries are bringing back the finger bun but doing it better than ever before,” says Reid.
When one of Lune’s pastry chefs, Katie, approached Reid about making a finger bun, she was a bit skeptical. But as soon as Katie came back to her with the developed product, Reid was blown away, and she always looks forward to it rotating back on the menu. “I just can’t help eating (it) the whole month it’s on. It’s genuinely so delicious.”
The concept of the almond croissant — day-old pastry soaked in syrup, filled with frangipane, sprinkled with sliced almonds and baked — has inspired hundreds of Lune recipes, including the finger bun. Wondering why she had only ever seen day-old pastries filled with frangipane when there were so many other possibilities, Reid started exploring twice-baked croissants in the early days of Lune.
With strawberry syrup, milk and coconut frangipane, the crowning coconut whip icing on Lune’s twice-baked finger bun “is truly one of life’s great pleasures,” she adds.
Finally, using leftover croissants to make bread pudding may be common practice, but the Lune Lab took their croissant ‘bread and butter’ pudding to the next level.
“We cut it into long, thick fingers and then got beurre noisette (brown butter) bubbling away in a pan, and then pan-fried it to get it all crispy on the outside and then tossed it in cinnamon sugar. And it’s just decadent upon decadent upon decadent,” says Reid.
At the Lune Lab, they serve the thick slices with clotted cream and blackberry coulis, and Reid offers three other variations below. Her favourite is the Sicilian-inspired second option, with a dollop of smooth, creamy ricotta, chocolate chips or grated dark chocolate, and orange zest.
“It’s a showstopper. It’s surprising. People think when they see it that it’s bread and butter pudding, but you get that added layer of decadence and depth from the croissant. And also, it’s a little bit lighter than using a bread.”
6 dessert glasses
100 g (4 oz) espresso
Dutch-processed cocoa powder, for dusting
For the croissant sponge:
100 g (3 1/2 oz) whipping cream
100 g (3 1/2 oz) superfine sugar
For the mascarpone cream:
3 egg yolks
240 g (8 1/2 oz) superfine sugar
2 egg whites
50 g (1 3/4 oz) water
750 g (1 lb 10 oz) mascarpone
40 g (1 1/2 oz) marsala
25 g (1 oz) strega
25 g (1 oz) sambuca
Preheat your oven to 160C fan (320F).
Cut the croissants into 1 cm- (1/2 in-) thick slices and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper.
Place the cream and sugar in a small saucepan over a low heat and whisk to dissolve the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from the heat immediately — you do not want it to come to the boil.
Using a pastry brush, lightly coat each croissant slice with the warmed cream and sugar, then place the tray of slices in the oven and bake for 7-8 minutes: you are looking for it to be lightly golden, not hard and dry.
Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
Prepare a sabayon with the egg yolks and 80 g (2 3/4 oz) of the sugar: place the yolks and sugar in a small heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a pan of just-simmering water. Whisk the yolks and sugar constantly, until they are light and foamy.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites to soft peaks.
Meanwhile, bring the remaining sugar and the water to the boil in a small saucepan over a medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar and create a syrup. Using a sugar thermometer, take the syrup to about 115C fan (240F). Once the syrup has reached this temperature, remove it from the heat and, in a slow and steady stream, carefully pour the sugar syrup into the whites while they are still whisking on low speed. Once all the sugar has been added, increase the speed of the mixer and whip until the bowl has cooled down to body temperature.
Carefully transfer the meringue mixture into a clean bowl, then transfer the mascarpone into the bowl of a stand mixer. With the whisk attachment, whip the mascarpone then add the 3 different alcohols. Whisk to combine. Finally, fold in the sabayon and meringue gently by hand, to create a light mascarpone cream.
Carefully transfer the mascarpone cream into a piping bag fitted with a Size 10 round nozzle.
Dip the croissant ‘sponge’ slices in the espresso for about 30 seconds, then flip and allow the other side to soak for 30 seconds. Repeat for all slices.
Place one soaked croissant ‘sponge’ slice in the base of each glass, taking care to keep the sides of the glass clean. Pipe a generous wiggle of mascarpone cream on the top of the croissant slice in each glass, then distribute the remaining croissant sponge slices evenly among the 6 glasses, arranging them carefully over the first layer of mascarpone cream. Pipe a final generous layer of mascarpone cream, making sure the wiggle of cream reaches the edges of the glass.
Finally, just before serving, using a small sieve, dust the cocoa powder generously on top of the mascarpone cream.
6 day-old croissants
Milk and coconut frangipane
Coconut whip icing
Desiccated coconut, to garnish
For the jus fraise:
500 g (1 lb 1 3/4 oz) frozen strawberries
50 g (2 oz) superfine sugar
For the strawberry syrup:
120 g (4 1/4 oz/1/2 cup) strawberry puree
250 g (8 1/2 oz) jus fraise
500 g (17 oz) water
For the coconut whip icing:
100 g (3 1/2 oz) milk
100 g (3 1/2 oz) whipping cream
15 g (1/2 oz) superfine sugar
100 g (3 1/2 oz) coconut milk powder, sifted
300 g (10 1/2 oz) double cream (minimum fat content of 48 per cent)
For the milk and coconut frangipane:
200 g (7 oz) butter, at room temperature
200 g (7 oz) superfine sugar
Pinch of salt
100 g (3 1/2 oz) milk powder
75 g (2 1/2 oz) desiccated coconut
75 g (2 1/2 oz) blanched almond meal
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 the 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, discoloured and liquid has begun to leach out.
Remove the bowl from the pot carefully (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.
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.
In a small saucepan, heat the 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 plan to serve the finger bun twice-bakeds, put the bowl of your stand mixer in the fridge for a few minutes to chill it, then 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!
This recipe makes white icing for the finger buns. If you’d prefer pink icing, add a tiny drop of pink food colouring just before whipping the coconut base and double cream.
Transfer into a piping bag fitted with a Size 11 round nozzle.
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 incorporated fully before adding the next. Scrape down the bowl after the incorporation of the first egg. Finally, with the mixer on low speed, mix in the milk powder, almond meal and desiccated coconut. Once again, scrape the bowl down well, giving it a final mix by hand (with a spatula) to ensure all the ingredients are well incorporated. Transfer the frangipane into a piping bag fitted with a Size 11 star nozzle.
Preheat your oven to 180C fan (350F) 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 of each croissant generously with the warm strawberry syrup. Pipe a healthy wiggle of milk and coconut frangipane on the bottom half of each croissant.
Cut a small hole in the tip of the strawberry jam piping bag (3-4 mm), then pipe a squiggle of jam on top of the frangipane. Repeat for each of the 6 croissant bases.
Replace the top half of each croissant, cupping your hand and gently securing each top. The finger bun is a unique twice-baked at Lune, as it does not get any garnish before being baked.
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 and checking the doneness of the frangipane. If it 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. Holding 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 piece de resistance of the finger bun is the chewy desiccated coconut that coats the coconut whip icing. Very carefully holding the pastry from beneath, dip the icing into a bowl of desiccated coconut, making sure to dip as gently as possible — you don’t want to flatten your beautiful squiggle of icing. Serve immediately!
6 day-old croissants
250 g (9 oz) milk
250 g (9 oz) whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
30 g (1 oz) superfine sugar
Grease a loaf tin and line with baking paper.
Tear the croissants roughly and arrange the pieces in the loaf tin.
Meanwhile, whisk the eggs, milk, cream, vanilla extract and sugar in a bowl to combine. Pour the egg mixture over the croissants and let stand for at least 1 hour, allowing the croissants to soak up the liquid.
Preheat your oven to 160C fan (320F). Bake the pudding in the oven for 45 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the pudding comes out clean.
Leave to cool completely before turning out of the tin.
Cut into thick slices and serve in a puddle of runny cream.
Instead of tearing the croissants into rough chunks, cut the croissants into slices and spread with hazelnut spread before arranging in the loaf tin. Proceed as per the recipe above.
For a Sicilian twist, as you are arranging the croissant pieces in the loaf tin, randomly distribute some ricotta and chopped dark chocolate among the croissant pieces. Add the grated zest of one orange to the egg mixture. Proceed as per the recipe above.
Warm 2 tablespoons of rum gently in a small pan, remove from the heat and add 100 g (3 1/2 oz) of raisins. Allow to soak for 1 hour. Scatter the rum-soaked raisins among the croissant pieces. Add a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg to the egg mixture.
Recipes and images excerpted with permission from Lune by Kate Reid published by Hardie Grant Books, February 2023, RRP $60 Hardcover.2023-06-09T12:04:48Z dg43tfdfdgfd