I know that pumpkin season is technically over now, so writing about Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Croissants may not make much sense, but in a certain sense isn’t it true that pumpkin season never ends? And, in another, even more accurate sense, isn’t true that I forgot I had these croissants in my freezer and ran out of other things to make for breakfast? Yes, yes it is – and lucky for you, because these croissants kick ass.
This is my first foray into Trader Joe’s world of croissants, a magical region that contains chocolate, almond, and mini varieties. I’m terribly sorry that I’ve missed out on them for this long. The croissants bake up easy into light, crispy, buttery crunchy breakfast pastries that trounce the bakery output of your local supermarket. The pumpkin croissants are thus named for two reasons – one they come sprinkled with a handful of hearty pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, and two, they are filled with a sweet and rich pumpkin custard. The custard is a wonderful accompaniment to the flaky croissant, very similar in taste and sweetness to pumpkin butter, but with a creamier texture. Yes, essentially it is just a fancier type of jelly donut, but when you’re picking one up, warm, and golden brown off the baking tray, you’ll be happy you bought them.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say the reason I bought these was because of the use of the word “proof” in the title. “Just proof over night and bake”, you’re informed. Having never heard of “proofing” dough before, I immediately threw these in my cart. Any excuse to learn!
As no doubt many of you know, “proofing” (or “proving”) is is the specific term for allowing dough to rise after it’s been shaped but before it’s been baked. Why do we do it? I don’t know, dough is just a mysterious thing. In fact, dough is often left to sit and rise several times prior to baking. As you’ll see when you leave these little cuties out to proof, they’ll expand in size to almost double. What we’re seeing is fermentation, specifically the yeast in the dough is converting sugar (glucose) into carbon dioxide gas and carbohydrates – it’s literally inflating from the inside. What’s more, and this was shocking for me to discover, the yeast is actually fermenting the sugars in the dough into trace amounts of alcohol, and it’s this alcohol that, when baked, is responsible for the rich flavor of bread. I’d always thought that beer tastes kind of like bread – it turns out that it’s actually bread that tastes like beer.
In any case, these croissants bake up delicious and flaky – the only issue is that you’ve got to plan for them. The proofing process takes between 6 and 7 hours, followed by 20 or so minutes in the oven. That’s a considerable time expenditure for just 4 croissants, but in my humble opinion it was well worth it.
Would I Recommend Them: Yes, these are some excellent croissants.
Would I Buy Them Again: Next pumpkin season, I’ll be all over them.
Final Synopsis: Tasty, flaky croissants for breakfast, just make sure you leave them out the night before.