Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chocolate Croissant

Several years ago a dear friend sent us the gift of three months of croissant.  Sounds a bit odd, I know – that’s what I thought too -- but I figured they were worth a try.  After all, since the charming French owner of Au Fin Palais disappeared without a trace some years ago, the only suitable place to get my favorite pastry has been Paris.  The “thing” we call a croissant here in the States is bland, boring, tough, nearly tasteless and with greasy dough that refuses to flake as it should – it is a travesty to compare them to the heavenly French version. 

The gift croissant turned out to be very special.  You order them (gasp!) frozen through Williams Sonoma and they cost nearly an arm and a leg with shipping.  I’ve had to work out how reasonable they are compared to a plane ticket to Paris in order to justify stocking my freezer with them.  A little advance planning is required to enjoy them.  They must be left out overnight to rise, loosely covered with a piece of parchment paper before baking them in a hot oven. 

Just the smell of them baking is worth the cost – bringing to mind romance, little corner patisseries, bowls of fresh, strong coffee and leisurely walks along tree-lined boulevards.  It gets even better.  When you bite into one of the crisply browned confections you literally have to shake your head to clear the illusion that you are, indeed, in Paris.  They are that perfect combination of light on the outside, but chewy inside and they flake all over your plate and your now buttery fingers and lips.  Oh, and the chocolate (you were wise enough to order the chocolate, certainly) is dark and smooth and decadent!

All of that is marvelous and I’m always happy to share my favorite foods, but I’m not sure this story would have qualified as blog worthy until this weekend.  I had a houseguest, so I took two croissant from the freezer on Sunday night, covered them with parchment paper and left them to rise in the cool oven overnight in preparation for our breakfast the following morning.  I then promptly proceeded to forgot all about them through the next day and the day after that too, because we’d gotten busy and talked a lot and eaten out.  I didn’t remember the poor sad deflated little things until Tuesday night when I started dinner.  Surely, they were ruined!   I couldn’t bring myself to throw them away however…it was just too sad to contemplate…such a waste.  Since the oven was on anyway, after dinner I thought, what the hell?  Pop them in and see what happens.

Don’t ask me how it’s possible, but fifteen minutes later they came out of the oven light, flaky, buttery and oozing with chocolate as always.  Maybe not quite as good as usual, but anything that can withstand that amount of neglect and still make an impressive showing deserves notice.  We polished off our unplanned dessert and dreamed of Paris that night.

It only seems fair to share the Williams Sonoma link for croissant

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