Tuesdays with Dorie – Croissants!

Wow…what a recipe! As soon as I saw that the next recipe for us to venture into was croissants, I jumped at the chance because I’ve been meaning to try making these buttery, flaky morsels for a long time, especially given my recent trip to Paris. I spread mine out over three days rather than two but it was definitely a lot of waiting around. Overnight, four two-hour rests AND a four hour rest… I kept saying ‘these better be worth it’ and unfortunately, I don’t think mine were. I don’t quite know what went wrong but in the final proving stage, a considerable amount of butter oozed out of my croissants and the dough didn’t rise at all. Given the amount of time I’d already invested in them, I popped them in the oven anyway and they didn’t turn out as badly as I thought. I made both croissants and pain au chocolats; the croissants were small, greasy and only had a few flakes so I was a bit disappointed. HOWEVER, somehow, using the same dough, my pain au chocolat turned out really well! Golden, flaky and butter oozing into melted dark chocolate – heaven! The crisp shell broke easily into the silky flakes as rich, thick chocolate spread across the palette – YUM! Two pastries at opposite ends of the scale but from the same dough – very strange! My only complaint about the pain au chocolat was that they really had to be eaten on the day they were baked, which seeing as I had about 12… I didn’t quite manage!

I don’t think I’d try this recipe again but I’d definitely look for a different croissant recipe and try them again; possibly less stress and anxiety would make for a better croissant and they do say that practice makes perfect – what a shame, I’ll have to keep eating croissants.

Amanda at http://www.girlplusfood.net/ has hosted this recipe and her croissants look delicious! A lot nicer than mine, that’s for sure! Check out the other bakers’ attempts at http://tuesdayswithdorie.wordpress.com/

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Paris! The first extract from my diaries…

The difference between French and English food is frankly astonishing and yes, slightly unfair. I’m not talking about the high end, Michelin-star restaurant food because obviously, that will be delicious wherever you are; I am talking about the day to day general food that is available to all. Admittedly, I was in Paris so the standard of food should be good for the food capital of the world but even if you compare it to London, the food is still of a significantly better quality in France. In London, you find street vendors frying burgers and sausages that will inevitably give you a stomachache the following day but in France, I casually walked past a street vendor, fully intending to ignore it completely, only to find that he was cooking pizzas in a proper wood burning oven…in a van; how incredible is that?

Not having been to Paris for almost ten years, I’d forgotten just how much I love the atmosphere, culture and, of course, the food. I had the best pain au chocolat I have ever tasted on this trip and I didn’t pay 6 euros for it in a fancy patisserie… oh no, I paid just over a euro for it in the train station. This was another revelation of mine; pain au chocolat noisette. It was essentially a pain au chocolat with nutella inside it and topped with chocolate nibs and roasted hazelnuts, so simple yet so delicious. I am baffled as to why the English have not adopted this, given our obsession with nutella, but I will definitely be attempting a similar recipe at some point in the future.

I went to Disneyland for a couple of the days and after becoming very fed up of the food on offer, I went to a French supermarket on my way back to the hotel and bought cup a soup, bread and soft goats’ cheese for my dinner; what a difference it was to those same ingredients in England. The cup a soup tasted like real soup rather than boiled water, the bread was delicious and the goats’ cheese was the best I’ve ever had and it only cost me a euro. Now tell me, how can the French get such amazing day to day food when we have to go our of our way to farmer’s markets?

The trip to Paris was truly incredible and I have been so inspired to try out new flavours and new recipes (more on those to come!) but one of the best things I tried was ravioles. Not ravioli but raviole du Dauphine; a French version of the traditional ravioli that consists of small squares of pasta encasing three types of cheese, egg and parsley and then boiled or sauteed in butter. I had them in a pumpkin cream soup and it was so utterly delicious that I could have had three courses of this and been more than happy. If you ever have the opportunity to try these, do! You will not regret it.

I’ve inserted a photograph of the view from my hotel room just to tempt you all to read my next post, where I will be reviewing all of the patisseries I visited! Look out for that as it will be coming very soon!