Thursday, September 29, 2011

French Pastry.....Croissants

So I may have said this before, and truthfully anyone who knows me knows I LOVE things french. I, for years, have wanted to attempt to make croissants but have always felt a bit intimidated by the amount of time it would take the whole process. Well my wonderful husband encourages me to just try anything I have thought about making, so I tried them this week. I pulled the recipe from a book that is a bit hard to find, The Encyclopedia of French Pastry, the book though has many recipes, I was fortunate enough to find it at half price books years ago.

The task initially seems pretty daunting, I read and reread the recipe countless times. I fretted over it, and finally Ashley said "just do it," this of course was at about 10:30 at night. I was able to quickly mix up the three different bowls of ingredients they was the recipe instructed, then mixed them all together like directed and placed the dough in the fridge overnight for the resting time.

I woke up the next morning not really sure how they were going to do, the dough smelled like bread dough is suppose to, that natural yeasty smell that really good bread has. I had to pound the two sticks of butter together to make one rectangle, once done with that, the enveloping of the butter with the dough occurred. Now the way you achieve the flaky crusty layers is pretty simple and amazing, you roll the dough, and fold it over on it's self try fold style, chill in the fridge, then you roll and fold again, you do this 4 times, Ashley did the math and it comes out to something like 19,000 layers in the end, now those layers are butter and dough layers; as you roll the butter gets thinner and thinner and the dough gets thinner and thinner. I was just certain that this was not going to work out the way it is suppose to.

After the final chill, you take out the dough, roll it out to a foot by 36 inches and cut out your croissants and roll them up. (I finally have pictures..)
You end up with enough dough for 24 three inch croissants. You can not really tell in the photo that the layers are visible but it was perfect how well you could see them. The unfortunate thing is that they did not hold their crescent shape too well.

These are the final version. My in-laws thought it was funny that I was taking pictures of food, which they have seen me do countless times, but I can not help it, I like to remember what the dish I consumed looked like. Regardless, I took the photo after they came out of the oven, don't they look beautiful.

No as far as taste... I have yet to find anything that is as close to the croissants you can get in Paris until now. It was like biting into a cloud of flaky buttery deliciousness. I was so surprised about how well they turned out, and frankly I can not wait to make them again. It is not a quick process, however it was a process well worth it! Next time I may try the ones filled with chocolate too.

I had the good fortune to share these with my husband and his parents. If only there were a way to easily make these for my mom, dad, and sister. Better yet, if my grandparents were still around, they would have loved them. I have them both to thank for my love of things French, and what a wonderful way to have a moment to remember them both by, a warm flaky home made croissant and a hot chocolate.

The one thing I learned with this recipe, is that I can accomplish many things, even things that initially I believe are beyond my abilities, as I thought with croissants. I hope those of you who read this will be inspired to try something a bit out of your skill set. Until next time.