Three years ago I embarked on a multi-part search for the best almond croissant in Sydney. After publishing part one, I thought part two of the hunt would be easy, but some spanners entered the works: there was a pandemic, lots of venues temporarily shut shop, and for a time my movement was limited to a five-kilometre zone. When the rules finally dropped and I was free to roam – and more than ready to indulge in my favourite pastry again – I was able to discover a whole batch of new bakeries, each doing an outstanding take on the nutty croissant. So, my search continued and here we have it: Sydney’s best almond croissants, part two.
Madame & Yves, Clovelly
I’m declaring it straight up: this is the best almond croissant in Sydney (well, so far). Chef Yves Scherrer is the man behind this masterful creation, and he and his team of four dedicated pastry chefs work around the clock pumping out some of the city’s most magnificent almond croissants. These beauties are made with Australian-grown almonds and premium Corman butter from Belgium. There’s also rum involved, a light syrup, almond frangipane that’s so juicy you’ll need five napkins, and a heavy dusting of icing sugar to seal the deal. They don’t look as perfect as other almond croissants, but that’s because softness and fluffiness is prioritised over appearance. They’re super floppy, so eating them is messy and fun. A final note: they’re enormous – the size of my hand, with fingers and thumb splayed.
Also a hot contender for the city’s best, though, is Madame & Yves’s raspberry-almond croissant . It’s basically the same, but with an added layer of house-made raspberry marmalade and freeze-dried raspberries that add a glorious burst of colour and texture. The tartness of the berries mixed with the nuttiness of the almonds and the butteriness of the pastry is perfect. And plenty of people agree with me: sales of the raspberry variation have recently surpassed the original.
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Banksia Bakehouse, Sydney CBD
It’s hard to look past the thick choc-chip cookies and bright fig danishes propped behind glass in front of its open kitchen, but Banksia’s almond croissants will not disappoint. These beauties are twice-baked, and the chefs tested more than 20 variations on ingredients and method before settling on the delightful final product. These are the notes I jotted down upon my first bite: “Oily in a good way, savoury mixed with caramelised sweetness, subtle nuttiness, burnt but great, toffee?” Some might think these babies have spent a few too many extra minutes in the oven, but for me it works: the crunchy, browned exterior balances the mushy, sweet, almond-paste-filled middle. There’s a subtle smokiness in every bite (which is especially noticeable in the loose flakes at the bottom of the bag, which I encourage you to scrape out), and a nuttiness that isn’t distinctly almond-like.
Lode Pies & Pastries, Surry Hills
This artful almond croissant with an unexpected fresh-fruit twist may be on the expensive side, but it’s worth those extra pennies. Making the croissant dough is a two-day process, with a third day spent proving, baking and preparing for a second bake on the day it’s sold. These crowd favourites are topped with a crumb of almonds and orange zest, and filled with a luxurious vanilla cream (made with egg yolks and gelatine for extra stability), as well as Williams pears poached in a star anise, pepper and cardamom-infused syrup that’s reused every time, inspired by Chinese master stock. They taste more like a drop-dead-delicious pear-and-cream pie than an almond croissant, but Lode calls them “almond croissants”, and they’ve got almonds in them, so I’m rolling with it. Get there fast because these babies often sell out early.
The team at Stix uses classic French techniques to bake its almond croissants and other goodies, and the expertise that goes into the lamination and fermentation of each croissant is obvious. There’s also a secret recipe behind the almond-cream filling and topping. Stix’s croissants are on the lighter side, which means you can order one as a treat after brunch (on that note, I strongly recommend the four-cheese toastie). It’s the filling that makes these croissants: it’s just the right amount of mushy, not too marzipan-y (it’s dangerously easy to tip into too-much-marzipan territory), and nutty in texture, not just taste. Side note: the almond croissants at Stix don’t flake.
Wholegreen Bakery, Waverley and Sydney CBD
I’m privileged to be a gluten-tolerant almond croissant-lover. But when a pal with coeliac disease dragged me along to Wholegreen Bakery, I was shown just how good a gluten-free pastry could be: the almond croissant is excellent. It’s incredibly dense; it tastes a bit like custard; it’s got a sturdy bottom, which means you can bite into it whole; it’s spectacularly yellow in colour; and there are subtle rum and vanilla accents. It’s on the breadier end of the spectrum, and it works. The proof is in the numbers: Wholegreen Bakery sells about 10,000 almond croissants each year.
AP Bakery, Surry Hills, Newtown and Carriageworks Farmers Market
I didn’t expect a “macadamia honey thyme croissant” to find itself on this almond croissant list, but I’ve allowed it because it’s just so damn good. With its texture of crème brûlée, it’s a glorious treat that reminds me of the honey and butter sandwiches (made with Wonder White bread, of course) of my childhood. They should be sickly sweet based on their crunchy, hardened-syrup texture and macadamia brittle, but salt flakes and thyme result in perfectly proportioned sweet and savoury mouthfuls. While other almond croissants leave behind dry flakes of croissant, these ones leave drips of syrup. It’s some sort of culinary magic, but what else would you expect from a bakery that cares enough to mill its own wheat in-house? I’m into it.
AP’s baked goods are popular, though (have you seen those lines?). So, if you can’t get your hands on the macadamia number, there are two actual almond croissants you could get instead (or in addition; make that line time worthwhile). There’s the zippy orange and almond number, swaddled in a dense layer of icing sugar with orange zest on top. And then there’s the magical miso and almond croissant, which brings the umami hit you never knew you wanted from a breakfast pastry.
See part one of our best almond croissants list here.