Guess what? I took a culinary course in making the French pastry, croissants, at La Cuisine Paris, http://lacuisineparis.com/, a small business with great Trip Advisor ratings, located ideally near the l’Hotel de Ville, which isn’t too far from my apartment.
There were 6 of us and our leader was a woman who studied for 2 years at The Hotel Ritz under the head pastry chef. It was fun but seriously, I have to spend 6 hours to make the pastry dough for croissants?!! Ooh-la-la, are you crazy?!! I’d rather spend the 1-2 Euros per piece at the patisserie/ boulangerie than toil over layers of buttery dough! Hence, croissants are worth every penny/centime. Luckily the course was only 3 hours, which meant many things were already pre-done for us. Unfortunately, we were given a recipe written by an American chef who taught the course before her and his methods were slightly different. It made for some confusion for me, who is NOT a natural in the kitchen. Needless to say, my croissants didn’t rise and I tore my ‘layers’ but it turned out tasty anyways. Nothing beats freshly baked buttery pastries out of the oven, messed up or not…! I also got a list of quality cookware shops to visit and a discount at one of them.
I don’t remember very much of what I did, only the feeling that I really needed some handholding. It helps to have a lot of kitchen countertop space, which is rare for the average Parisian (including myself). I learned that almond croissants are commonly rebaked butter croissants that likely didn’t turn out perfect–just open them up, spread the almond filling and top with almond flakes to hide the errors, and rebake. W-H-A-T?!! Almond croissants are one of my favs. When the chef told us this, I commented, “Knowing that, why would anyone want to buy or eat an almond croissant?!”
“It’s only a day old,” was her response. “And French people don’t like to eat plain butter croissants,” she continued, “We need to put some jam or butter inside.” Hey, my husband has something in common with the French!
And nothing goes to waste. After killing yourself over your dough, you can’t collect all your scraps and roll them into a ball–because you’ll have destroyed all the layers you so patiently created. If the scrap is big enough, you can sprinkle cinammon and sugar over it and roll them to make a luscious cinnamon bun. W-o-w.
Needless to say, I think I’ve forgotten how to make perfect croissants now but every time I see them, I am reminded that a lot of sweat and tears were involved in their creation. (This was the reason I didn’t choose their French bread-making course!) Bon Appetit!