Winter has arrived in Toronto! I am so excited, snow white days and icy crisp air are my fave. There is nothing like jumping into a cold bed covered in quilts and snuggling down for a good night sleep. Ahhhh. The only thing missing in our house is a wood burning fireplace – to have a glass of red wine and read a good book by of course. Sigh, maybe one day. Unbelievably December has arrived, bringing with it the festive and joyful spirit of the holidays. Our family is multicultural so we get to celebrate both Chanukah and Christmas. The festival of lights and Santa Claus? It doesn’t get better than that. Join MMH as we cook up all kinds of holiday goodies from fudge to mandelbrot!
Tartine Croissants – The Perfect Treat
Speaking of food….have you ever noticed that some things are just perfect the way they are? If you have been reading my blog for any period of time you will have noticed my penchant for innovation when it comes to recipes, but there are some exceptions to my experimental kitchen. Croissants are one of them. I am not sure why people don’t make them more often as there is nothing like eating a croissant fresh out of the oven. Health-wise I would not recommend doing this more than a few times a year. The amount of butter required to achieve those achingly thin, flaky, browned layers is criminal. BUT. It is well worth making them from scratch if you are going to indulge – unless you have a bakery like Patisserie 27 around the corner that can make you a super good one without the time and effort 😉
My mind is cluttered with food related memories, so it would be impossible and impractical to record them all on my blog. Stand out moments, for me, consist of a few common elements: Happiness, taste bud thrilling vittles and a memorable person, place or thing. One of the finest food memories I have involves croissants from Tartine in San Francisco. These croissants were so scrumptious that I walked 4 miles (round trip) for three days in a row to enjoy a Tartine croissant and coffee in Dolorus Park. Sublime.
So this posting is an ode to Tartine croissants. There are simply perfect. You can find the recipe in their cookbook or there are some great directions online @ Apt.2B. They are not as difficult to make as one is led to believe. These babies need time and patience aplenty though. I allocate 2 days to the process and it’s worth it! Enjoy:)
Croissant Making Tips:
1. Use weight not volume in terms of measurements. DO NOT convert into cups. Get a scale.
2. The quality of your butter MATTERS (they are not all created equally). Plugra is a great choice.
3. Make sure the butter is malleable but not soft. You should be able to work with it without having it shatter but it should remain COLD during the lamination process. You can roll it out between two pieces of parchment paper and measure to fit your dough if you feel nervous about doing it free hand. I used a spatula to help me layer it on the dough. This is a good video on how to laminate the dough.
4. Roll the croissants tightly.
4. Proof the dough between 78 – 80 degrees. If the croissants get too hot the butter will melt between the layers ruining the final result. This process will take about 2 – 2 1/2 hours and the croissants should double and look puffy. If you do not proof long enough the butter will run out of the dough in the cooking process.
5. Trim the edges of the dough when you make your turns. Makes for better layers.
6. I do a double egg wash. The croissants can dry out during the proofing process humidity is important. If you brush them when they are formed this will help keep the dough retain its moisture – you can do a second wash when you bake.
7. Make sure the oven is hot and ready for the croissants.