Do not decide to go home and make your own croissants UNLESS you are very ambitious and you want to involve yourself in hours of work only to set off the fire alarm in your house.
I spent yesterday afternoon pounding away at a story and a pastry dough. Yes, I pounded. I took my rolling pin and pounded until my wine glasses began shaking, and I feared that the paintings in the art studio below my kitchen would fall to the floor.
I labored over my croissants, and I woke up early this morning to put them in the oven, to let the aroma of freshly baked pastry fill our home. And then things started smoking.
Ryan and I ran around our apartment, opening doors, turning on fans, hoping that circulation would prevent our fire alarm from blaring. We can't take them out! I cried, because I had spent A LOT of time and muscle on these pastries, and they were going to finish baking, fire department or not.
Thankfully we averted disaster and after ten minutes of watching our kitchen fill with thin, hazy smoke, we pulled out two baking sheets of golden brown, flaky croissants.
And then we sat down with our cups of coffee and our plates, and we enjoyed some of the best pastry I've ever eaten. But there is a reason that in Europe, everyone goes to the bakery to buy their bread and croissants.
1. Bakeries are very good in Europe.
2. Croissants are WAY MORE WORK than most reasonable human beings want to partake in.
So in lieu of giving you a 15 step recipe, I'm leaving you with the image of a young girl with thick black hair. Her mother always tells her to braid it, but she can't stand the way it pulls at her scalp when so tightly wound. She practices French every day because she's heard that if you find a French man to love you, you can move to a cottage in provincial France and eat only brie and grapes and bread for the rest of your life. Today, she sits hunched over her french-to-english dictionary and a cup of steamed milk. Pulling apart one layer after the next, she lets each flaky bite of her croissant melt on her tongue as it becomes one with her sensory organs. After finishing, she stands up to stretch and looks longingly at the counter. One more croissant never hurt anyone, she thinks, and brings another back to her table.
Lesson to be learned: Go and buy yourself a croissant, save the making for another day.
Anecdotes and Apple Cores
PS. This is going to be on Yeastspotting!