Pastry savory

April 25, 2008

Shrimp Salad in Puff Boats with Roasted Red & Yellow Tomato Coulis

I only went to the market to buy milk. But I came home with 2 pounds each of red and yellow tomatoes, some pea shoots, buckwheat sprouts, and shrimp.

I forgot the milk.

Img 3296 2

I hate it when I do that. I'm so A.D.D. in supermarkets. The colors really sidetrack me. This is why people make lists. Stick to the list! I guess I was a little curious to see if tomatoes were starting to taste juicy again. I realize I didn't need to buy 4 pounds to answer that question.

The tomatoes were juicy (Hallelujah!). So I roasted them up with a whole bulb of garlic and puréed them separately to taste their differences. The yellow tomatoes were a bit milder in acid but just as flavorful as the red.

Img 3233
Originally I thought the roasted tomatoes would make great soup (they did, I'll post that next) but, I also thought they would make a nice rich coulis, a sauce made from puréed and strained vegetables or fruits.

Which led to: tarragon shrimp salad in choux puff boats with my little shoots and sprouts, and a few swirls of red & yellow tomato coulis. Whoo-wee, that all sounds complicated doesn't it? It's not, just a tad time consuming.

Like I've got anything better to do on my days off – tax extension be damned!

I've never used buckwheat sprouts before and they sure have an interesting flavor: a cross between sour grass and wheat grass. Sweet and sour. Pea shoots, on the other hand, taste exactly like pea shoots.

Img 3294

I hope you enjoy this recipe. If serving a crowd or in need of a dish to take to a party, the choux puff boat can be baked in a Springform 9" cheesecake pan and filled with any salad right before serving. Egg salad, chicken salad – whatever. Then people can scoop it from the boat or cut wedges.

As for the 4 pounds of roasted tomatoes all I can say is they have far more uses than just soup and coulis. They also make great pasta sauce, meat sauce, salsa base, or side dish when served whole. I've left the quantities in tact so you have room to experiment too!

Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

Continue reading "Shrimp Salad in Puff Boats with Roasted Red & Yellow Tomato Coulis" »

March 17, 2008

Oysters Beignet

I am lovin' this beignet batter. It's really just beer batter but, it sure makes everything taste goooood.

After I finished deep frying my oysters, I then when onto to experiment with other ingredients: tangerine slices, frozen chocolate truffles, and spoonfuls of the batter dropped in like doughnuts. No complaints here!

This video is a continuation from "How To Shuck 'Em" so I do not give a detailed explanation again on how to pry apart oysters. However, I felt it only appropriate to stick in another Britney Spears song (Gimme More) just to carry along the previous theme.

I'm kinda vibing with ol' Britney Spears lately, maybe because she always seems to be in situations where she has to prove herself.

Not all beignet batter uses yeast or beer. If you want a batter that is more bread-like, compressed fresh yeast or active dry yeast will give it that texture and a nutty flavor. (I used active dry yeast in video).

However, if yeast intimates you, using a mixture of baking powder, cornstarch, and flour can be substituted. It will not have the exact same bread-like flavor or texture, but it provides a nice tempura-like crunch with a quick bread taste and it is much faster to prepare. (works extremely well for vegetables, shrimp, and oysters). I've included both recipes at the end.

When it comes to deep frying I always use peanut oil because it is neutral in taste and has a high smoke point. You can turn up the heat under your oil without billowing black noxious smoke taking over your house (or flames for that matter).

It's important to maintain a temperature of 180˚C or 360˚F. This insures that the surface of the food you're frying, will quickly form a protective barrier preventing the oil from soaking into the main ingredient and making it greasy and inedible. Inversely, if the oil is too hot, then the batter will burn before the inner ingredients gets a chance to cook indirectly. Always monitor the temperature if not using a professional deep fryer or one with a built in thermometer.

Britney fan or not, this batter is versatile for sweet and savory dishes. Whether you want to make plain beignets coated with sugar or turn seafood and vegetables into something unrecognizable yet delicious, it's a safe bet.

Turn up the music and have some fun!

Technorati Tags: , ,

Continue reading "Oysters Beignet" »

December 31, 2007

Herb Crusted Standing Rib Roast, Yorkshire Pudding, Brussels Sprouts

I look forward to prime rib for one reason: yorkshire pudding. There's nothing like slicing into a steak that melts in your mouth like butter, but I am partial to the little popovers that soak up all the jus.


And I refuse to make excuses for enjoying brussels sprouts. If they're not overcooked, they are delicious. Too often people boil the hell out of 'em and then they get that funny smell – you know the one I'm talking about? But, if they are steamed briefly (4-5 min.) and then quickly sautéed in a tiny bit of good ole' fashioned bacon grease, they are absolutely edible!


So what's the difference between a popover and yorkshire pudding? Not a lot. Except the later is cooked in the pan drippings from the standing rib roast which makes them extra flavorful. These little puffed beauties have to be cooked à la minute, but that's okay because the rib roast has to rest for a good 15-20 minutes anyway. As soon as the roast is being carved, the popovers should be coming out of the oven so it all times out perfectly.

Happy New Years!!!

vichyssoiseVichyssoise with Crab, garnished with Crème Fraîche and Chives

oystersUPOyster and Heirloom Carrot salad with Warm Oyster Vinaigrette

primeribUCHerb Crusted Prime Rib, Yorkshire Pudding, Brussels Sprouts

choccake2Gâteau Chocolate

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Continue reading "Herb Crusted Standing Rib Roast, Yorkshire Pudding, Brussels Sprouts" »

October 04, 2007

Baking Bread in Conzieu: IT'S ALIVE!!!

Img 3921-2This has got to be one of the top ten reasons to quit your day job and become a food blogger: so that you too can get invited to a beautiful Chateau outside of Lyon overlooking a gorgeous valley to learn bread baking in a wood fired oven while sipping champagne in the company of new friends who share a common passion for good food! Who said blogging doesn't pay off?

My husband and I were invited by Bradley and Marie Prezant, the bread baking power duo of Bethesda Baking, to come spend a long weekend at their maison in Conzieu, an hour outside of Lyon, located at the hilly tip of the Alps. As I was madly trying to arrange last minute train tickets for our trip, my husband, being the internet guru that he is, asked:

"Honey, do you know these people?"

"Yeah, I met them on the internet."

"No, do you know these people?" He probed again trying to ascertain the risk involved in our new adventure.

"Um, yeah, they're bread bakers."

No doubt the idea of driving out to the middle of nowhere and being cut up into a million pieces was plaguing him. But me? Well, I think bread bakers are a special breed of scientist that have better things to do than to draw food bloggers out of their Parisian habitats for luxurious weekends just to serve them up on a platter.

Img 3688-2
Img 3655-3Img 3720-2

We reached their house overlooking a valley dotted with farms and rivers and pulled into a driveway bordering a church dating back over one thousand years. "Oh, mon dieu, this can't be it!" I muttered in disbelief after viewing the incredible beauty and serenity of the surroundings. Bradley and family greeted us with a warm welcome and a cold glass of vintage Veuve Cliquot. Not a bad way to begin a weekend! They showed us to our cozy bedroom complete with clawfoot bathtub, wood burning fire place, and views of the valley out of each window.

"This is for us? You must be kidding me..." I said peering out one of the windows.

The next few days were a cooking and baking frenzy fueled by good wine and great conversation. It was my first time baking bread from scratch. I don't mean just adding fresh yeast to flour and letting it do its bubbly thing, I mean making creating starters like 'poolishes' and 'levains' that pack extra flavor and take time and energy to develop. Then mixing them with more ingredients to form beautiful loaves of hearty tasting bread.

Img 3860-1
Img 3884Img 3883

If you're a novice bread baker like me, then you're probably wondering what the difference is between a poolish and a levain yeast starter. A poolish or 'pouliche' as its called in French, is a liquid pre-fermentation starter that is created with roughly equal parts of water and flour with added yeast that is allowed to develop over an extended period of time of four to eight hours. It adds a nutty rich flavor to bread and can also increase its longevity after its baked (if it doesn't get eaten immediately). The word 'poolish' was coined in the 1700's from the way the Polish make a liquid yeast starter to bake bread.

Img 3818-2Img 3828-2

A levain starter, mostly used for sourdough bread, is a little more complicated and requires several feedings over a longer period time. Its created like a poolish but has more flour than water. During the long aging process, while the levain is fed, it develops a rich sour taste that adds more complexity and character to the bread. Levain starters are like something out of the musical Little Shop of Horrors: "Feeeeed me Seymour! Feeeed me allll night lonnngg!!!"

Making bread starters reminds me of sea monkeys – remember those? You add water to a magical powder and then watch tiny creatures grow, swim around, and multiply. Only its more satisfying because you get to eat the bread at the end or trade it (like we did with the villagers) for fresh eggs and foraged mushrooms.

The entire bread making process is a combination of several steps. Yeast is ALIVE and requires oxygen, a little food, and a warm place to grow. As the yeast eats its food it releases carbon dioxide which causes the dough to stretch, rise, and ferment more. The dough must ferment at least three times. The first time with the poolish or levain starter, the second after more flour is added and the dough is kneaded and allowed to double (here it is often punched down to release carbon dioxide and rise again), and the third time after shaping the dough into loaves and allowing it to quickly 'proof' in a warm humid environment before baking.

Img 3912

Good bread bakers know how to play with the timing involved with the fermentation processes in order to create more flavorful breads. In many cases the second fermentation process can be slowed down or controlled by placing the dough in the refrigerator overnight. However, if you're in a hurry the bread will rise quicker in a warm environment. Brioche dough contains tons of butter and needs an extra long time to rise in the refrigerator, otherwise you'll end up with a gloppy mess of melted fat on your table.

The flour that you choose to bake bread with is important. The higher the protein content is in the flour, the more elasticity and the nicer the structure of the bread. That stretchiness comes from chemical compound gluten which is made up of protein and starch. Normally bread flour has a higher protein content than all-purpose flour.

Img 3808
Img 3809-1Img 3806-1

We baked several breads including: brioche in all different shapes and sizes, sourdough rye, and cereal. The brioche we cooked in a normal stove but the heavier loaves we baked in Bradley's wood burning oven. In order to heat up the bricks inside his specialty furnace, Bradley made a fire with several logs and let them burn to coal. After they had burned down completely, he swept the ashes out of the oven and we shoveled the loaves in, added some water for steam, and shut the little iron door to let the bread bake away.

Img 3915-2

To "pay" for our lessons we cooked dinner. With my husband as sous chef we whipped up some soul warming potiron (pumpkin) soup with toasted seeds, a roast chicken with root vegetables and reduced red wine vinegar jus, tomatillo and corn relish (from Bradley's garden!), and a Tarte Aux Noix made from walnuts we gathered up from walnut trees around town. Not complicated, but completely locally grown and seasonal.

Img 3975
Img 3979-1Img 3978-1Img 3982-1

In between cooking, baking, and letting poolishes poolish my husband and I explored some of the neighboring villages. We drove through a town called Crapéou, pronounced Crappy-You and picked apples perfect enough to be something out of Snow White. Then headed for the surrounding hills to discover pristine lakes, trails, and more tiny villages. It's hunting season right now and you can hear the hunting dogs barking away with their little bell collars ringing everywhere. Not wanting to end up on the wrong side of a shot gun we noted the trailheads for next time.

Img 3927
Img 3930-1Img 3934-1Img 3933-1

Our last evening was spent playing the French card game Tarot with some of the local card sharks in the village, eating Tarte Aux Pommes baked with our Crappy-You apples, and drinking more vintage champagne. Due to the fact that I was a little too tipsy to concentrate on the rules of the game, I lost. But I think I won overall, so no hard feelings.

I know there are those who believe that bloggers are a narcissistic bunch who only seek out others whose beliefs reflect and mirror their own while hiding all the time behind an anonymous computer screen. But, I beg to differ. I am truly thankful for all the people I have met world wide whose areas of expertise and values are different and yet complimentary to mine. Although I can be shy in social situations, I enjoy the opportunity to meet new people face to face. This weekend for me, was an example of extraordinary generosity and the desire for a world community that I think most of us seek to create in whatever way we know how.

Img 3745-1Img 3649 2-1

Many thanks to the Prezants for taking the time out of their busy lives to show complete strangers a truly wonderful time. I know it will be a memory that we will cherish forever.

I will leave you with a recipe for brioche, the rest of the bread recipes are somewhat secret and you'll have to get invited over to the Chateau...

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

Continue reading "Baking Bread in Conzieu: IT'S ALIVE!!!" »

June 05, 2006

Fun With Phyllo

Kids won't eat fish? Wrap it in Phyllo. Husband/Wife/Partner just invited the boss over for dinner and you've only got leftovers in the fridge? Wrap it in Phyllo. Need appetizers for a huge dinner party that you can make the day before and refrigerate and bake right before serving? Wrap it in Phyllo. It's easy, versatile, and makes everything look and taste better.


Phyllo (Filo) pastry dough means "leaf" in Greek and it is a dough well worth having on hand. Although the flaky pastry has a Greek name, it's origins are Turkish (Istanbul) dating back to the Ottoman reign. Phyllo is often associated with the famous Turkish dessert, Baklava, that is a rich honey and pistachio treat. However, there are countless uses for it.


I really do think phyllo is fun! It can be molded into any shape: cone, present, triangle, circle, rectangle, etc and filled with any thing left over in the fridge, savory or sweet. Although you can make the dough by hand (very difficult with unsatisfactory results) it is easier to purchase at the grocery store. Phyllo dough is flour that has been compressed with water and just a little oil. Then it is rolled through huge machines that elongate the glutens in the flour to make paper thin layers.


How to use it: I normally use about three layers at a time. Make sure they are properly defrosted if previously frozen and not dried out. Each layer needs to be brushed lightly with melted butter (clarified preferred, but not essential) or olive oil. Place the layers on top of each other, put filling in the center, and shape the dough around it. Voila! Bake it for around 6-10 minutes at 350˚F / 170˚C until pastry is golden brown.

Any filling used should already be precooked or something that only needs to be warmed through like goat cheese with fresh basil and tomato (yummy!). Just make sure filling ingredients aren't too soupy or it will turn the dough to mush.

Recently I made a last minute dinner for my visiting parents using frozen scallops and one carrot and one leek. The results was heavenly. I julienned the veggies and sautéd with butter until al dente and separately cooked the scallops until just warm in the center. Then I buttered my phyllo dough and made a bed of the carrots and leeks with the scallops on top.

I formed the pastry dough into a big peony shaped flower around the filling and loosely tied the top with kitchen string to help keep it's form while cooking. What fun to cut into at the dinner table and inhale the delicious steam coming through the openings in the pastry!

I have also used phyllo to wrap individual par cooked rack of lamb with a pistachio/herb dressing, confit pigeon leg with foie gras and duxelles, and much much more. The fun is endless. Kids like to play with it too – it's like a wrapping a present and then getting to eat it afterwards.

Recipes to follow: Scallops in Phyllo Dough

Technorati Tags: ,

Continue reading "Fun With Phyllo" »

February 12, 2006

Crepes, Crepes, Crepes!

I have a very special French friend, Marine, who besides being an amazing person is also our barometer for all things francais. She has helped tremendously during our first year abroad and has even been known to make reservations at itimidating restaurants, translate important documents, and include us in french traditions and holidays.


In honor of "La Chandeleur" Marine held a huge Crepe Party. The significance dates back to the middle-ages. Traditionally, in France, La Chandeleur is celebrated every February 2nd, in honor of the dead (including the end of the winter), and for good fortune. Crepes are a symbol or wealth, and making crepes while holding a gold coin should bring good fortune and health during the year. Marine found historical details dating back to Pope VII! Nowadays in early February people make crepes, put on costumes and throw fresh eggs and flour to people on the streets! (well, some do, like students).

When I arrived, Marine had prepared all imaginable accoutrements for the crepes: tomato confit, sauteed mushrooms, grated gruyere, chevre, lardon (bacon), blue cheese, and eggs. For the dessert crepes we had our choice of homemade mandarin, blackberry, and strawberry jams or flambéd crepes with Grand Marnier. She also served an "inbetween" crepe filled with chevre, honey, and walnuts–

I watched as she tossed crepe after crepe in the air....


We did get a little too crazy with the flambéd crepes and at one point switched from Grand Marnier to Rum which was NOT a good idea. As we discovered the higher alcohol content in rum causes a much MUCH bigger flame. We melted the air filter on her stove which ended our flambé fun. Luckily the filter is easily replaced, however it dripped all over our last crepe of the evening.



I DO NOT recommend lighting anything on fire, but for those curious about the process you heat up a small amount of alcohol (usually a congnac or some sort of liquer) to a simmer then pour it over gently while simultaneously lighting on fire with the longest possible match or lighter. Do not put your face over it or have anything around that can catch on fire– you can never tell how big the flames are going to be.



We gobbled our delicious crepes with Cidre (hard sparkling cider) and had good fun with baby Zoe..the real light of the party!


Thanks again Marine for all delicious fun :-) and to Stuart Isett (Pro photographer) for capturing our flambé moments.

Sweet Crepes:
120 g flour (2/3's cup)
pinch of salt
30g sugar (one big Tablespoon)
2 eggs
250ml milk (one cup)
60ml water (two big Tablespoons) or subsitute Grand Marnier or eau de vie
30g butter melted

1. In a bowl sift flour, salt, and sugar. Pour eggs in a well in the center and whisk in incorporting flour from sides of well. Slowly whisk in milk and water util batter is smooth. Lastly whisk in alcohol. Strain if it is lumpy
2. Heat a crepe pan or large nonstick pan and swirl a little melted butter over surface. Pour in about 50 ml of batter and rotate pan so batter coats evenly. Cook for 1 minute then gently lift edges with spatula and flip onto the other side. Or toss like Marine if you're feeling lucky! Crepe should be a pale golden color.
3. Place desired filling on one half of crepe and fold the other half on top. Fold again to make a triangle and serve warm.
Fillings could include: nutella, bananas, jams, sucre, sliced almonds, chevre, lemon, and honey

Savory Crepes:
120 g flour (2/3's cup)
pinch of salt
big pinch of sugar
2 eggs
250ml milk (one cup)
60ml beer (4 big Tablespoons) 30g butter melted

Follow instructions above
Fillings could include: eggs, gruyere, ham, tomato confit, sauteed mushrooms, caramelized onions, blue cheese, nuts, chevre, whatever else your heart desires!

Technorati Tags: , , ,

December 23, 2005

Cooking Video: Quiche Lorraine

Quiche is easy to make and pleases just about everyone. It's great during the holidays when you need to feed a lot of people for brunch or lunch. Also, you can use up left overs in the fridge and mix them in with the filling. For example, sometimes I make the filling out of wild mushrooms and spinach or smoked salmon instead of the bacon for quiche lorraine. I've even seen quiches in paris with broccoli and sliced potatoes.


Shortcrust Pastry:
200g flour/ 1 1/4 cup flour
100g butter/ 1/2 cup butter
pinch of salt
1 egg
1-2 Tbsps water as needed

3-4 eggs
150ml cream/ 1 cup cream
180g/ 3/4 cup thick bacon, rashers, or lardons
150g/ 2/3 cup gruyere cheese diced or shredded
salt & pepper to taste
pinch of nutmeg

Shortcrust assembly:
1. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and cut in butter until mixture resembles sand
2. Add egg and water and mix until just incorporated
3. Form a ball with dough and "fraser" crush dough with palm of hand against counter to incorporate all butter.
4. Chill for 15 minutes or up to one day.
5. Roll dough out to fit desired tart pan and prick with tines of fork.
6. Fill to the top with baking beans or beads to prevent shrinking (it will shrink considerably otherwise)
7. Blind bake for 5-10 minutes until golden brown at 160C/ 325F.

1. Whisk eggs, cream, nutmeg together
2. Fry bacon in a saute pan until cooked and then drain excess fat off in a sieve.
3. Brush pie crust with mustard
4. Fill crust in a single layer with bacon and then add cheese to cover
5. Pour egg/cream mixture over the bacon and cheese and fill to 1/4 inch of the top of the crust. If necessary make more egg/milk mixture to cover.
6. Bake at 180C/350F for first 10 minutes then reduce to 160C/325F and bake until center barely jiggles and the egg filling is set, about 15-25 minutes more depending on pan size.
7. Let cool slightly before serving to help the egg filling properly set
8. Enjoy

Note: If adding other filling make sure that they are cooked and drained of any liquid before adding to the cream/egg mixture. Also if the egg/cream mixture does not fill the tart pan to a 1/4" of the top of the crust then whip up another egg and some extra milk and add.

November 07, 2005

Tarte Aux Pommes

J’adore this recipe! Not only does it satisfy my apple pie cravings but, it is surprisingly versatile. I like to make more filling than the original French recipe calls for, because I love warm caramelized apples. I always use Golden Delicious apples for the fan on top, but I tend to use an assortment of sweet-tart apples for the filling. Check out my TARTE AUX POMMES VIDEO for further instructions!


Sweet Short Pastry
200g all-purpose flour, sifted
100g butter cut into small pieces
4g / pinch salt
20g sugar
5 ml water
1 egg
1-2 pinches vanilla power or tsp vanilla
Large tart pan or rings greased and floured
Apple Filling
7 apples (4 for the filling and 3 for the topping)
60g butter
60g sugar
30 ml water
juice of ½ lemon, if you want
2 cinnamon sticks
Bake at 180 C (around 350 F) and reduce to 160 C or 325 F after ten minutes. Cook until done, about 25-30 minutes.
Short Crust Assembly:
1. Put all dry ingredients into a big bowl (flour, salt, sugar)
2. Add the butter and cut with fingers. (With your hands smoosh the butter & flour inbetween your fingers as if you were counting money). Or pulse in cuisinart with 2-3 on/off turns.
3. Add vanilla powder, egg, and drop of water and continue to mix dough with fingertips. (2-3 on/off turns in cuisinart)
4. Form the dough in a ball and “fraser” twice against the bowl’s side–press dough with palm against the side of the bowl like kneading bread dough.
5. Flatten into round disk and refrigerate dough while making apple filling.
Apple Filling:
6. Peel all apples and core.
7. Dice 4 apples
8. Melt butter on medium high heat in a large saucepan. Add sugar once butter is frothy. Let butter and sugar turn golden brown before adding apples (about 2-3 minutes).
9. Add diced apples and gently stir. (about 5 min).
10. Add water and cinnamon sticks and cook on low heat for another 5 min or until apples are soft. Don’t overcook. (if apples are juicy then leave out the water)
11. Take apple filling off heat and let cool.
12. Take remaining 3 peeled and cored apples. Cut apple halves into paperthin slices. Make sure to keep the apple half in tact while doing this because it makes it easier to fan on the top of the tart.
Tart Assembly:
13. Roll short crust out to size of desired tart pan about 5 mm thick
14. Fill short crust with cooled filling and spread evenly.
15. Starting with outer edge of crust and fan apple slices in a circle over filling. Make sure there are no gaps between the crust and the slices. The fan should be tight.
16. Continue with a second and third circle fanning on half of the previous one. With any remaining small apple pieces fill the center and then place a few slices over to create the center piece. (see picture).
17. Dot wih butter and sprinkle sugar over top of tart. You can also brush top with an apricot glaze if you prefer the shiny look.
18. Bake! Serve warm with crème anglais or vanilla ice cream.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

October 15, 2005

Le Croissant

There is an art to making a perfect croissant. I have yet to eat a croissant in the States that has the same texture, taste, and delicacy that the French croissant bakers have perfected. During my pastry course at Cordon Bleu I talked with the head chef about this issue. For all of you croissant bakers out there, here's what I found out....


Croissants are made from a yeasted puff pastry dough. The process involves making a yeast dough and then folding in butter through a series of turns. The term "turn" involve rolling out the dough into a rectangle and placing a slab of butter on top of it, then folding the dough over it and rolling it out into another rectangle so the butter is inside the dough. This is repeated. Turns are what gives croissants their flaky layers.

There are six basic ingredients, water, flour, butter, salt, sugar, and yeast. The butter we use in France is called buerre sec or "dry butter". This type of butter, which comes in slabs as opposed to large cubes, has a low moisture content. Dry butter is not powdered–it's just like normal butter but denser with less water. When you are doing your pastry turns, the butter does not melt as quickly.

The technique is similar to cutting butter or crisco into flour to make a pie crust – if it melts, you've got icky crust. The idea is to coat the slab of butter with dough. I have found in the States that the solution is to go to a premium grocery store, like Whole Foods, and poke all the cubes of butter until you find one that does not imprint easily. Start with the French brands first– don't let the dairy supervisor catch you!

Secondly, our flour is different. Our all-purpose flour is really stong compared to French flour. The French use a flour called Type 55. Unfortunately we don't have an equall to this. Pastry flour is too fine and so is bread flour. The way to modify your All-purpose flour is with a pinch of pure ascorbic acid or vitamin C powder. If you can't get this then crush up a Vitamin C pill and use a pinch of it. One pinch per kg of flour. I'm not quite sure why this works, but the Cordon Bleu pastry chefs swear by it. I think it has something to do with the way it reacts with the yeast.

Thirdly, in France they use compressed yeast which has the feel and smell of fermented tofu. It's crumbly yet moist. I still haven't been able to found this in SF. The easiest thing to do is just use the packaged kind an follow the instructions before adding it into the dough. Normally this includes mixing it with a little warm water and letting it bubble up. The yeast will feed on the sugar added into the dough too and the vitamin C powder.

I have included the measurements for croissants below and instructions. It is difficult to describe pastry turns, so I'm afraid that I'll leave this recipe to those that understand the technique until I figure out how to get video online....

Croissant Dough:
1 kg flour
25 g salt
100g sugar
30g fresh compressed yeast
600 ml milk and or water

For the Turns:
600g dry butter

Egg wash for the finish
Bake at 170C (not farenheit)

1. Put flour in a large mixing bowl and add the salt, sugar, and yeast in 3 seperate pockets leaving the middle space clear.
2. Add water and mix with spatula. Make sure you mix the yeast towards to sugar first.
3. Don't overmix!
4. Set dough in plastic wrap and place in fridge for 6 hours.
5. Take dough out and put on floured counter (granite or marble preferably)
6. Make three simple turns refrigerating inbetween the second and third turn for 20 minutes.
7. After 3rd simple turn place in the fridge again for 20 min.
8. Take dough out of fridge and roll out into a long rectangle about the width of parchment paper sheets.
9. Cut dough into triangles and weigh each one to make sure they're around 70-80g (you can add on scraps to the short side of the triangle is you need to )
10. Roll from big edge to tip of triangle and pinch the edges. For buerr butter croissants the ends should not be folded in but left straight. This is how to tell the difference between pure butter and half butter half margerine croissants.
11. Brush egg wash over croissants (2 eggs, and 1 egg yolk mixed)
12. Put immediately in warming oven for 1 1/2 hours
13. Put second egg wash on after croissants have doubled in size. Do it lightly
14. Bake until golden brown.

Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,