I can’t believe it’s taken this long but the day has finally come. Yes people, it’s Croissant Day.
The first thing to know about Croissants is that they are absolutely not for the weak of heart in that they are both time consuming and full of saturated fat. You also need 9-10 hours that you can be at home because that’s how long it takes. Before you ask I have to state somewhat sadly that I can’t give you the recipe, it’s too long to type out and requires multiple illustrations. And even if I gave you the recipe I don’t think it would make sense. Lisa, Em and I all took notes during the baking class and between the three of us we could barely remember how to do the last steps. Yeah, it’s a little complicated. Not difficult, just particular. In any case the recipe we used was from the Apple Pie Bakery at the NY CIA.
I stupidly thought CIA meant Central Intelligence Agency.
Apparently CIA also stands for Culinary Institute of America which is a pity because I was imagining a very exciting post about “double agent croissaints”
The first thing to know is that you will be measuring a lot, so find a ruler. We used a measuring tape. I don't recommend that method. You'll find out that I'm not recommending a lot of things we did.
You start off with a poolish and what I can only describe as an insane amount of butter. Do you see what Em is holding in her hands? It is a BOOK of butter. More than 5 sticks go into the recipe that makes 12 croissants.
You roll out the dough and encase the "book" in the poolish dough. Don't ask me what poolish is, Em made it, we weren't sure it came out right and it caused us a lot of angst/worry.
You roll the dough, fold it over like a business letter, let is sit on the counter, let it sit in the fridge and repeat. You do this approximately one zillion times. The repeated rolling out is how you create the beautiful layers of dough and butter.
After your 4 hours of so of rolling out the dough is finally ready to be shaped. This also requires the use of a ruler, and a knife. After having invested so much time you will feel nervous as heck.
Once you've cut the dough into 12 pieces you start placing the chocolate batons inside. Lisa and I were sneaking some batons to eat. Em D did not approve but she did an admirable job trying to pretend she was okay with it.
Oh Lord they were so beautiful. They were the reason God created pastries.
Next you fold them over and then place a second baton inside. Then you fold and flip 'em over. Then you take the extra dough you trimmed off and you eat it. Then you sigh with satisfaction because the dough is more delicious than dough should be.
At this point you might be wondering a few things… like why are all the pictures of Emily? Well, because she did all the work. I’m scared of messing baking up and Lisa admirably kept Elian busy the whole day. Ever since croissant day Elian has been in love with Lisa, every night he pulls out a chair from the table and says “Tia Lisa” as if waiting for her to arrive. It’s friggin adorable… but I digress.
The point is Em did most of the work but it’s a long tiring process so I really recommend rounding up friends and a movie if you are going to do this. There is a lot of down time and you need someone to watch your kid and cook you food while you wrangle the croissant dough.
I was the chef, Lisa was the nanny, Em D was the croissaint queen.
It was a beautiful day for friendship and butter.
Then disaster struck, and by disaster I mean idiocy. After forming the croissaints you have to let them proof for 1.5 hours. After that time they should double in size but uh, they didn’t. I think it was too cold in my house. At this point it was already 9 so we stuck them on top of the oven extraction fan figuring my house was too cold. then we sat down to watch the rest of Coco avant Chanel, our chosen croissaint day movie.
And when we came back, they had melted some and there was butter spilling out everywhere all over the pan.
BUTTER. EVERYWHERE. PAN.
I hope the amount of panic that ensued is being conveyed.
By this time Lisa had left to attend a Halloween party. Em and I were bereft. All our hard work, spilling ALL OVER THE PAN. It was the critical moment and we had biffed it, after measuring and cutting and rolling for hours.
BUTTER EVERYWHERE! <—If I knew how to increase the font size I defenitely would have.
“Em we just have to throw them in, we can’t put butter back in the croissaints!”
I think I was calm when I said this but in my deluded memory I imagine myself clutching Em’s shoulders and screaming at her in a raging and hysterical panic. I didn’t though. I said it real calm like, the heroic general resigned to facing certain death.
So we did. We threw them in the oven. Our imperfect masterpieces, we cast them into the fiery furnace.
It was unspeakably tragic. We took this picture to capture the essence.
There was butter everywhere, the croissaints were literally deep-frying in butter on the bottom. We sat on the floor nervously and watched them cook. Nutty stood guard with us as we watched them puff and heave, the oven breathing life into our franken-croissaints.
Here they COMMMMMMMMME!
We took them out and put them the cooling racks. They looked pretty normal. The smell was out of this world. I thought I was going to pass out just from the smell. I mean honestly 5 sticks off butter. It was unreal.
It was also 9:40 at night. We started at 11 am and also prepped the butter book and poolish dough the night before. Think about this next time you eat a really amazing croissant.
There was nothing left to do, we had to just go for it. We congratulated ourselves on a good try, picked up our croissants and revealed our fate.
10 pm first bite of Franken-croissants.
They were everything I dreamed they could be. Buttery, flaky, crispy and soft all at the same time. And just when you thought that nothing could rival their perfection came the counterpoint, melted earthy chocolate spreading across your palate. Oh Franken-croissants. I love you so.