Recipe Review

The Shortcut French Appetizer I Can’t Stop Thinking About

published May 4, 2023
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Someone holding plate of fresh baked mini cheese croissants.
Credit: Patty Catalano

I am a huge fan of The Great British Bake Off, and I’ve continued to follow my favorite contestants — including Edd Kimber and Manon Lagrève — long after they left the tent. Lagrève lives in London, but her Instagram is peppered with classic French bakes and a series titled “Host Like a French.” Recently, in anticipation of an upcoming dinner date with friends, I was looking to switch my usual appetizer offering to something more elevated (yet just as easy!). That’s when I saw Manon prepare miniature cheese croissants using puff pastry and Boursin to serve with apéritif. I couldn’t wait to serve them myself. Here’s what happened when I tried these two-bite cheesy croissants.

How to Make Manon Lagrève’s Mini Cheese Croissants

Unfold and roll thawed puff pastry into a rectangle. (My puff pastry was damp from thawing, so I unfolded it onto a lightly floured surface to absorb some of the moisture and make it easier to roll out.) Spread softened Boursin cheese evenly across the pastry, leaving a 1-inch border on the long sides of the rectangle.

Arrange thin slices of Emmental or Gruyère cheese in a single layer across the center of the pastry. Mark the top and bottom of the pastry in about 2 inch increments. Cut the pastry into long, thin triangles, alternating the direction of the triangles. Slightly stretch the pastry at the widest point, then roll into a croissant shape. 

Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet, then brush with egg wash and sprinkle with white sesame seeds. Bake at 180°C (that’s about 355°F) until golden and crisp, 15 to 20 minutes.

Credit: Patty Catalano

My Honest Review of Manon Lagrève’s Mini Cheese Croissants 

Manon’s recipe for mini cheese pastry croissants is even better than I expected, and to my surprise, I had everything I needed to prepare the recipe already in my kitchen. (But if you don’t, the grocery list isn’t long.) 

I was wary that the temperature — 180°C or about 355°F — was too low. I generally bake puff pastry at 400°F to 425°F so that moisture can turn to steam quickly, therefore puffing the pastry. I baked a few at 355°F for 23 minutes until browned, but some of the fat seeped out and the pastry didn’t puff to maximum height. I tried two more batches — one at 400°F and another at 425°F. While both batches resulted in puffed and golden-brown pastries, I had to watch the 425°F batch closely so that the edges and sesame seed topping didn’t burn. 

Overall, the two-bite appetizers are a triple threat — elegant, delicious, and easy to prepare. Before I baked these mini cheese pastries, I left croissants to the pros. Now that I know how simple these are to make, I can’t stop imagining what other cheeses I can use. 

If You’re Making Manon Lagrève’s Mini Cheese Croissants, a Few Tips 

  • Soften Boursin first. Boursin cheese is spreadable straight from the fridge, but it’s easier to spread if you first take the chill off. Remove the Boursin from the fridge first, then preheat the oven and gather the remaining ingredients. 
  • Buy all-butter puff pastry. When there are so few ingredients in a recipe, make sure to choose the very best available. For this recipe, buy frozen puff pastry that is made with real butter, instead of vegetable oils.
  • Use a pizza cutter and a ruler. Use a ruler as a guide to cut the straight lines of thin triangles. A pizza cutter, not a knife, makes cutting the pastry quick and easy.  
  • Adjust baking temperature. Bake at 400°F for 12 to 15 minutes, rather than about 355°F (180°C) to allow for maximum puff and browning.
  • Freeze prepared mini croissants. You can bake these appetizers in advance, and freeze. When ready to serve, reheat at 350°F for 8 to 10 minutes.