I got a fabulous cookbook for my birthday...Tartine (a bakery in San Francisco, see http://www.tartinebakery.com/). There are a ton of great-sounding recipes, I am so eager to try, I can't wait (watch out Teacher Appreciation Luncheon and end-of-year picnics!).
The first recipe in the book is for their famous croissants. At first, I was excited, I love croissants! Then I looked at it. The recipe is 5 pages long! So, I thought, no way. Then after reading it several more time, I thought, I can do this! So, I did. The recipe is written beautifully, as I read it dozens of times. Very clear and precise, yet simple enough for the home cook. There are several simple steps that are spaced out over about 24 hours. So, overall it takes a long time but each step doesn't take that long in itself (so your active time is relatively short). You can also easily make it far in advance. I was so excited as I worked through the steps...watching one of my favorite movies, West Side Story, while I waited to do that last step last night. Working with this beautiful dough felt so great. There is such satisfaction in making the dough just perfect. I even did some the kneading by hand. I woke up with my 3yo early this morning and rolled them out and got them ready to bake.
Then I made the fatal error.
The rolls are big and will rise. So, I moved them to my larger cookies sheets. These sheets don't have sides. When the croissants were baking...the butter in the dough melted a bit (this is normal) and leaked all over the oven. There was smoke everywhere...and even some flames!! (This is the point when having a fire fighter in the house is great) But I was determined to wait it out. And they looked beautiful! (And the oven cleaned up quickly) We waited for them to cool and dug in. On first taste, they were delicious. Perfect and buttery with a wonderful texture. But there was this undeniable smokey aftertaste. So, after all that work, we just can't say they are great. I don't even think we can eat the rest of them.
At least I tried the recipe...the new technique and did it. And next time, I will use the right pans and they will be fabulous!
**If you want the recipe and want to challenge your baking skills and patience, I can post it to you in the mail....let me know.