This sandwich was inspired by an article titled, The Secret to an Excellent Sandwich from the New York Times that I read recently. According to this article, there’s a restaurant in Philadelphia named Middle Child and their “Surfer” sandwich is mentioned and focused upon. This sandwich has house-roasted and sliced turkey, blueberry chutney, arugula tossed in vinaigrette, and melty Swiss cheese all inside a ciabatta roll. I didn’t copy the ingredients 100% but the sandwich I am sharing today is close.
The NYT article then elaborates that the Surfer is originally inspired by another sandwich from an unnamed restaurant in Maine that served turkey and brie with blueberry jam in a pressed panini-style sandwich. I took a little inspiration from that sandwich and a lot of inspiration from the Middle Child version of the sandwich to create my own tasty version.
First, we need to bake some bread. Some bread that takes longer and requires more effort to make than other bread.
I have only made croissants three times before getting started with this blog post and sandwich, so I do not consider myself to be an expert, but I have determined that the recipe that I have been using has a few flaws. Because of this, I decided to alter that recipe, bake it a few times, and fully rewrite and rework the instructions to make it my own. I do want to mention that I read through the comment section of the original recipe and found that quite a few other people shared at least two of my issues with the croissant recipe instructions. I’m not going to name names and say where I got the original croissant recipe from, but you could probably figure this out with a little searching on this site.
The biggest problems I had with the original recipe I was using was not necessarily the ingredients. Those seemed to work out ok. It was the instructions and baking time/temperature. The comment section was full of people saying that they burned the bottoms (and I did too) of their first batch, which is very disappointing when you put in the time to make buttery and laminated layers of dough. The second biggest issue I had was with the cutting out of the triangles required to make croissants.
You probably already know this, but croissants are full of butter. The process of making and shaping croissants requires you to create layers of solid butter and dough. Because you need these layers of butter to be somewhat solid and not melted, this means you will need to work quickly and keep moving the dough in and out of the refrigerator as you work through each step.
After four rounds of brochure folding and lamination, I roll the dough out to a rough 10-inch by 19-inch rectangle and then trim the edges of the rectangle to have straight edges. Once the rectangle is now cleaned up and around 9 x 18 inches I then attempt to cut even-shaped isosceles triangles.
The original recipe instructed you to cut a rectangle of dough into several right triangles to use for rolling and shaping your croissants. To me, that never worked properly.
Right versus isosceles triangles
Let’s talk about triangles. Imagine the following two graphics of triangles illustrate how you are going to cut dough to roll up a croissant into its crescent shape.
This is a right triangle. I turned the graphic on its side so the letters are sideways, but this angle better proves my point that if you started from the bottom end and rolled up to the point, you would have a lopsided croissant. This would be bad.
This is an isosceles triangle and if you started rolling from the wide bottom to the narrow top, you could easily create a symmetrical crescent shape.
The reason I am bringing up some middle school geometry at this point is because the original recipe I followed used right triangles and after making that recipe a couple of times I found out how much better croissants turn out when you start with isosceles triangles.
So, we want isosceles triangle shapes.
Five whole croissants and one reassembled one
There are other ways to cut croissants so that you can get isosceles vs right triangles, but below is how I do it. If you want to watch a real professional and see how she cuts and shapes her croissants, Clare Saffitz has made a great video for the New York Times YouTube account. I have fast-forwarded her very informative video right to the cutting and shaping process.
Saffitz starts with right triangles and slices off a little off the bottom to turn it into an isosceles triangle. Instead, I choose to cut five isosceles triangles and two right triangles and then I pinch the two right triangles together to make a sixth isosceles triangle. That sixth triangle will never be visually perfect, but it bakes great and tastes great and in my four test batches, it still holds up for good sandwiching (as you can see in this sandwich photo).
Here are two graphics where I describe how I make my cuts and stitch the two right triangles together.
My recipe makes 12 sandwich-sized croissants. The graphics you see above, and the photos below are only showing half of the dough. You can go ahead and shape the other half of the croissants immediately or you can leave the laminated second half of the dough wrapped in the refrigerator for a few days before you shape and bake again. My last batch was in the fridge for four days and it was shaped, proofed, and baked just like the others.
After shaping each croissant, they can be carefully moved to a parchment-lined sheet pan for resting.
An hour or an hour and a half later the croissants should be proofed and ready for baking. They all get a quick paint with egg wash (1 egg and 1 tablespoon of water) right before baking which helps with the browning and shininess.
Here is my croissant recipe. Since I had to make it a few times to tweak the ingredients and process you will be seeing another croissant-focused sandwich coming in the next few weeks (trying to space them out a little). Get ready.
Blueberry and onion chutney
As I understand it, the main difference between a jam and a chutney is that jam is fully focused on sweet flavors and chutney often has savory additions alongside some sweet ingredients.
The three big ingredients in this chutney recipe are blueberries, onions, and garlic. So, it’s packing some sweet and savory flavors that pair really well with creamy brie and sliced turkey.
If you’re a big sandwich fan, you should make this blueberry chutney and use it just like cranberry sauce with turkey or cold cuts. Give the recipe a shot or just use store-bought blueberry jam and expect everything to be just a bit sweeter in the final sandwich.
Here’s my stand-alone blueberry and onion chutney recipe, but I also included the full ingredients list and instructions down below in the turkey, brie, and blueberry croissant sandwich recipe.
Cajun-spiced roast turkey
I’m a big fan of buying large boneless turkey breasts to season, roast, and slice. You could just buy some sliced turkey from the grocery deli for this sandwich if you want, but you will probably save a few bucks by buying and making your own.
For this recipe, I rubbed the outside of the breasts with a tablespoon or so of oil and then coated them with Tony Chachere’s Creole Seasoning. This stuff is cheap and should be available at most large grocery stores. You can make your own Cajun seasoning if you want and I have. I prefer my own Bojangle’s fry seasoning copycat blend and that is what I would have used if I wasn’t busy that day.
If you’ve been following along, you’ll definitely know that I bought myself a fairly cheap deli slicer at some point last year. I have used it about once a month or once every two months to slice a hunk of meat or cheese and it works well for that. For the amount I spent on it, I certainly feel like I got my money’s worth, but you may have to do the math on that yourself.
Here’s the deli slicer that I bought over on Amazon. Currently, it’s 15% off at $109. I have noticed that it goes on sale fairly often. At that price, it’s not the best deli slicer you can buy, but as I said, for something I use 6 to 10 times a year, it works for me.
Brie and roasted turkey are good friends, but I think they’re even better friends when something sweet is added. This sandwich is rich already with buttery croissants and now we’re adding creamy brie, but we can balance it with what is coming next.
Tossed and dressed arugula
At first, I didn’t think this sandwich needed arugula but the slight peppery bite plus the sweet and tartiness from the vinaigrette that I made worked well with the rest of the components in this croissant sandwich. It brings balance to the final sandwich.
The sandwich recipe
Here are some photos of this turkey, brie, and blueberry croissant sandwich I created this week. It’s a good one with super rich flavors, balanced by savory turkey and tangy dressed peppery arugula and a blueberry chutney.
This turkey, brie, and blueberry croissant sandwich has all the savory and sweet flavors balanced by slices of creamy brie and a slightly tangy dressing.
- 2 cups blueberries
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon grated ginger
- 1⁄3 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1⁄2 cup brown sugar
- 1⁄2 cup dried blueberries
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon MSG (optional)
- 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, minced
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1⁄2 teaspoon hot sauce
- 1 to 2 tablespoons dressing (from above)
- 1/8 to 1⁄4 cup arugula
- 1 croissant, sliced and toasted
- mayonnaise and/or mustard (optional)
- sliced, roasted turkey
- brie cheese
- 2 to 4 tablespoons blueberry chutney (from above)
Blueberry chutney: add all ingredients to a medium pot over medium heat and cook stirring often for 10 to 15 minutes.
After the chutney has thickened and turned into a jammy consistency, remove the pot and allow everything to cool before serving or storing it in a sealed container in the refrigerator.
Dressing: combine vegetable oil, sugar, vinegar, parsley, salt, pepper, and hot sauce in a jar with a lid. Cover with lid and shake to mix well. This will make more dressing than you need, but it works well on a salad and should keep in your refrigerator for a few weeks.
Sandwich assembly: toss a small handful of arugula (around a quarter cup) in a bowl with a tablespoon or two of the dressing.
Slice and toast your croissant. Add any condiments that you desire to the bottom slice.
Add sliced turkey and top that with a few slices of creamy brie cheese.
Spoon a few tablespoons of blueberry chutney on top of the brie and top that with your dressed arugula.
Complete the sandwich with the top of the croissant and serve.
Check back next week for another sandwich
Next week I will NOT be writing about croissants but don’t fear, there will be more in the future because I had to bake so many in the testing process. Next week will likely get porky.
Also please remember to subscribe for free email sandwich updates if you like what you’ve seen here. And you can support this site by joining my Patreon community for behind-the-scenes updates about future sandwiches.