Sunday, June 19, 2005

Pastries from Heaven

This was the big weekend: the lovely Phoenix, after a number of other, more straightforward forays into the art of baking with yeast dough, had reached the skill level required to learn how to make croissants.

That's right, everyone... my dear little Phoenix is now all grown up... she's a Baker now. (Sniff! I'm so proud!)

We started the dough Friday evening, making the butter/flour sheet first and then the tender dough. After placing that sheet of butter on the dough and folding the dough over the top, we began the start-and-stop process of rolling and folding, chilling, rolling and folding, chilling... you get the picture.

(Those periods of chilling the dough, though, gave us ample time to head out to the garden for some weeding. Hey, it has to be done sometime!)

After the final rolling of the night, we wrapped up the dough, woke up Mr. Nice Guy (who did a splendid job of holding down the sofa while we worked), and parted ways until the morning.

Saturday morning we rolled out one third of the dough, having frozen the rest for a later date, and cut out triangles to roll up into the classic croissant shape. The rolls proofed while we brewed some of that fabulous Phoenix Blend coffee, and after a quick 15 minutes in the oven, the croissants came out golden and gorgeous, fragrant and flaky.

Quick! To the table!

I pulled out a selection of homemade jams, including both varieties of strawberry jam from last week's cooking, and every last croissant and crumb was completely gone in a very short time, amid much sighing and smacking of lips.

I've had other croissants lately that were satisfying and that inspired me to dust off my own recipe at home, but believe me... nothing, absolutely nothing compares to the bliss of fresh, flaky croissants baked at home, filling your house with the sweet mingling of buttery and yeasty fragrances.

It's not that difficult to bake a little slice of Heaven.

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