17 April, 2007

Croisssants avec Jambon et Fromage

Bonjour mes saucisses, aujourd'hui we will talk about one of my favorite breakfast foods and my favorite pastry, and they just happen to be the same thing: Croissants.

Amazingly enough, growing up in Columbus we were able to get very good croissants. Of course at the time I didn't think of it as amazing, I just thought of it as something we did sometimes on Saturdays. My dad would go the the French Loaf and pick up some plain ones, some with chocolate and some with almond paste. The croissants were perfect, flakes would crumble into my lap as I pulled them apart. As a nine year old I was evenly split on my preferences: I had to have a chocolate one (Chocolate for breakfast!) but at the same time I could not deny the eye-rolling joy of a plain one crammed with butter and Strawberry jam. These pre-adolescent times gave way to high school and other desires like girls and egg mcmuffins, and the croissant faded into the background.

Fast forward to a few years ago, One day while visiting in CMH, La Bonne Femme, my sister Jeanlouise and I decided we needed to find some ham and cheese croissants for breakfast. We started at Mozart's Bakery (no), the French Loaf (nope), then to La Chatelaine (nada) We gave up and ate crouque-monsiuers. While munching on our sandwiches we discussed making croissants at home. I dismissed the idea as too complicated, while I didn't have first hand knowledge of a recipe, didn't it take several days, and a careful hand to create flaky goodness? I declared that we should leave the pastries to the professionals and we should dedicate ourselves to being the epicures that would find the finest made croissants wherever we went.

My attitude changed on a subsequent CMH gathering. Jeanlouise flew in from DC with a ball of dough in her carry-on. The next day she presented perfect croissants from the oven.
"Did it take a long time?" I asked
"I did it over a couple of days," she responded.
"Was it hard to do?"
She said: "Nah, dude, you just have to fold it a few times. So I did it once before I went to work, then once when a got home, then the same again the next day."
"Huh, cool."

Inspired by this new information, I went to the library and checked out The Bread Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Using her recipe I have produced croissants several times. While I can't say making them is simple, it's really not that hard, and they are always good.

So, now fast forward to two weekends ago at another family gathering in Columbus. Jeanlouise was not there, but we have found what we were looking for before: The ham and cheese croissant.

We got to North Market at 8:45 AM, just as the croissants were coming out of the oven at Omega Artisan Baking.

As I savored one of these over sized lovelies, the idea hit me, I could make these at home with the leftover Easter Ham.

Fast forward to two days ago. They boys got me up at their usual time of 6:21 AM. I got out my ingredients.

The dough which I had made up and turned four times the night before,

The ham from Easter weekend,

and some Comté from Trader Joe's.

I rolled out the dough and cut it into triangles.

I rolled out each triangle, a little bit of ham, a little bit of cheese... A little bit of chocolate

Roll em and let em rise.

After about an hour, an egg glaze and into the oven.

If my sister could see this I imagine she would say, F'in-Ay. Last time I talked to her she told me her internet couldn't tune in the blog. She will have a lot of reading to do when she gets back. In the mean time if you want to see what she is up to, check out Jeanlouise in Ethiopia.

A word about the Jambon:

As I mentioned last week and as you can see in the picture today, the ham cured unevenly. A new reader (we will call him Chef G, not to be confused with Uncle J from the AK, who is also a chef, or Un-named Village Official J, who was my co-conspirator in Sausage Mania) commented that is would be very hard to get a complete cure on a ham without injecting it. Well it didn't say anything like that in the cookbook, but I am aware that they use big needles with solution to cure hams commercially. Alas, I wont turn down advice from a professional; I bought a marinate injector and started another ham yesterday. Well see how it turns out.



Kiki said...

Oh, please stop, you're TORTURING me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

E said...


kelli ann said...

those croissant look about 1,000 times better than the fare in many, many stores. they are astounding and amazing!! i bet that the taste experience was memorable too. MMMMMMM!