There is something very alluring about the large, plastic-domed containers of croissants you see at the grocery store and Costco, but I rarely give in to their buttery siren song. It’s just too stressful! But last week, I saw a 12-pack on sale for a mere three (3) American dollars, and I could resist no longer. I bought those croissants, and I (inevitable) failed to consume them all before they went stale.
Stale croissants make excellent bread puddings and interesting croutons, but I don’t bake in July (or ever, really) and I didn’t feel like eating a salad for breakfast (although I’m not against it as a concept). I just wanted a croissant, and I wanted it to taste good. Lucky for me, I have an air fryer, but reviving the pastry isn’t as simple as tossing it in the little basket. Much like reviving a stale baguette (or any crusty bread), you have to run it under some water first.
The heat from the air fryer undoes some of the effects of starch retrogradation, releasing water that has been trapped within the starch crystals, and the extra moisture ensures that all the starches get nice and soft. It works for big, crusty baguettes in a 150-degree oven, and it works for a single croissant in your air fryer.
The method is simple. Turn your sink on, and briefly pass the croissant through the running water. Heat your air fryer to 180C, and heat for 3-4 minutes, flipping once, until the croissant is warm and soft, with a delicate, but crispy exterior. The transformation is, in a word, startling. The tough, chewy edges and crumbly texture become a distant memory.
The only problem with this is that I now have no reason not to buy the huge plastic containers that are filled with croissants. But maybe that’s not a real problem.