Last week, my daydreams – and savings – for going to Europe came to halt. I had to buy a new car. Instead of a plane ticket and a croissant on the Champs Elysses, I have a new car.
So if I can’t have my four weeks in the chic metropolises of Europe — London, Paris, Rome and somewhere in Spain — then I will bring Europe to me. To my kitchen, to be precise.
This week I start my adventure in Paris. The last time I was in Paris — 1997; last century! — I was young and not much interested in food; falafel in the latin quarter or crepes on the street were merely fuel for walking the city and taking the metro. Instead, I spent my days trawling the museums and boulevards and gardens. I saw the actual brushstrokes of famous paintings I’d studied in textbooks. I pocketed a conker from the Bois de Boulogne and polished it smooth over months, rubbing it in my pocket. I discovered the beauty of medieval tapestries at the Musee D’Cluny. I sat in sunny flowered gardens and watched art students sketch the statues.
My plans this time, next time, are to visit some of the museums again, go to the ballet, stroll through the streets… and eat every croissant, crocque monsieur, macaron and wodge of brie I stumble across.
Until then, here is an almond croissant. I love a croissant that is a little salty — that is, not an obviously sweet one — with crunchy buttery flakes and a substantial heart. Perfect served oven-warm with even more salty butter. I have discovered that I melt for a good almond croissant; when I discovered you could make them yourself, well, I melted a little more.
I don’t propose making the actual croissant — that’s too big an ask of my skills — but taking a good bakery croissant (not those floppy soft supermarket ones, which are good enough for a bread and butter pudding, but not for eating) and tarting it up a bit.
Instead of my passport, I grabbed this recipe. Bon appetit!
PS What’s your favourite French food?
Adapted from taste.com.au. This recipe specified for six croissants; I bought four which turned out to be monsters (grand croissants!) but the mix for six was just right for four.
- Preheat your oven to 170. Slice your croissants in half to open like a shell.
- In your food processor, whiz up 150 gram soft butter, 1/2 cup icing sugar, 1/3 cup plain flour, 2 scant cups almond meal, and 1 tspn vanilla (I would use just a dribble more next time; the original recipe specified almond essence). Whiz until it balls together.
- Divide this between your croissants - so I pulled this into four balls - then take a good portion of each, flatten between your palms til you form a thin layer, and insert this between the two croissant halves. Take the remaining, smaller portion and flatten again and lay on top of the closed croissant then spike with enough sliced almonds as you wish (they can be skin on or off, you could even use slivered almonds).
- Pop on baking trays and warm thru for about 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven, dust with some icing sugar, and enjoy while crisp and warm.