Croissants aux amandes

September 27, 2011 § 5 Comments

The funny thing about having a blog is that sometimes I get confused and start thinking of it like a diary. I start writing and quickly realize that the blank word document I’m filling up with words is completely unpublishable. And then I have to start all over from scratch. It’s unfortunately like admitting that my life isn’t as fancy and perfect like the pictures ready to be uploaded.

Awhile ago, we had a perfect Saturday morning in San Francisco — the sun was out for once, and on the drive home, we stopped at a café — a little hole in the wall, with brilliant sunflowers atop each industrial table — in the area for a cappuccino and pastry. I thought of it when my mother said the family was going to the connected restaurant that night for dinner. I thought of it during a particularly hard week at school, which, thankfully (big decisions made, tears shed and cakes baked) is finally over. I thought of sitting in the café as I readjusted my morning routine in my dorm room, which I am ashamed to say generally consists of energy bars and instant oatmeal.

There are days here when I can’t believe how much I missed these friends while I was away; and then there are days when being back here feels like being locked in a little box with no air to breathe (the humidity maybe doesn’t help that matter). Sorry I think I reverted into diary mode, but the truth is, something like the picture below would never have happened here, simply because the idea of doing approximately 1,000 turns and folds of the dough is unfeasible given the lack of time and equipment on hand. It’s frustrating, and oh I could go on and on about it, but I’ll stop — there’s an almond croissant waiting for you, soft, crusty, with marzipan spilling out from the edges and almond flakes falling off the sides.

I made these for the September Daring Bakers‘ Challenge, which was “Fresh, FLuffy, French Croissants.” To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t a big fan of the dough, I found it rather salty when not accompanied by a sweet filling, much more like a very buttery roll than a flakey pastry. The recipe we used was from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two by Julia Child and Simone Beck, and it took about 20 hours from start to finish, including an overnight rise in the fridge. I definitely think croissants are something to be attempted at least once in a lifetime, but I can’t say a repeat is in my future anytime soon. Not when there’s a bakery around the corner.

*The Daring Bakers go retro this month! Thanks to one of our very talented non-blogging members, Sarah, the Daring Bakers were challenged to make Croissants using a recipe from the Queen of French Cooking, none other than Julia Child!*

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