Since going to Paris in May, I’ve developed an undying affection for the most ubiquitous french pastry–the croissant. Waking up each morning in Paris, I’d look forward to my mid-day snack: a freshly baked croissant with hundreds of delicate and buttery layers. We found what I argue is the very best croissant in Paris. Good news: we enjoyed dozens of them. Bad news: I am now hundreds, no thousands of miles away.
What is there to love about a croissant? It begins and ends with butter.
So if you want the very best croissant, you need to splurge on pasture butter. Pasture butter is made from cows grazing on fresh spring pastures. If you can’t access pasture butter, pick up a pound of organic. Because if you are going to invest the time and energy (croissants require much of both) then you might as well make the best croissants in your city, right?
I’ve tried several croissant recipes over the years. Some have left me with croissants swimming in pools of burning butter (bad news, my friends) while others have produced buttery but not flaky pieces of bread. Sadly, I had nearly given up my croissant-baking quest and settled on store-bought.
But then, I found croissant recipe gold.
I should have learned this lesson a long time ago: ALWAYS trust Peter Reinhart. He’s the god of bread. And a benevolent one, at that.
This is what I love about his recipe:
1. A slow fermentation of the detrempe.
2. No pounding of the butter block (my neighbor, husband, and cat should be singing Peter’s praises)
3. Allowance for smaller sized croissants (because you do consume about 8 tablespoons of butter when you eat a huge one)
Quite simply, these are some of the best croissants I’ve ever had (and I can now say that Ryan and I have enjoyed some VERY good croissants). I didn’t ask Peter’s permission to print his recipe so I’d advise you to do one of two things: buy his book (Artisan Bread Everyday) or visit this blog (she asked and received permission to print the recipe).
I brought a basket of croissants to my graduate class on Tuesday night, and we enjoyed them with a jar of strawberry jam. And then, Ryan and I enjoyed a few leftovers the following morning. I didn’t feel like I was in Paris (it is far too hot in Austin for my imagination), but I did feel a bit closer. And that, my friends, is worth all the time in the world.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores