Every year, the weekend after Thanksgiving, I buy the biggest bottle I can find. I go hog wild with the stuff until the end of the year. If there's anything remaining in the bottle at midnight on New Year's Eve, it gets dumped. But man oh man, that's a glorious month.
Back to it. A few Saturdays ago, my most cookingest girlfriend and I finally padded our stomachs with scrambled eggs and fruit and headed into Eaton Rapids, a town south of Lansing where, frankly, not much exists. But what DOES exist in Eaton Rapids is Le Chat Gourmet, a cooking school which owner Denene Vincent has built in her home. The kitchen is drop-dead gorgeous and Chef Vincent's skills make you forget that you're in Eaton Rapids.
I wrote about Le Chat Gourmet here, a few years ago. (It was before the boyfriend made his debut. No guys stood a chance of getting my email address this time around.)
At 10am that Saturday we arrived and started our six-hour submersion into all things butter, flour, and French. That's right, a Croissant Workshop.
|How weird is this creepy video?|
We banged on a sheet of butter with a rolling pin.
Croissants take a few days to come together. The flakiness comes from multiple rollings of the dough, and after each roll, the dough has to rest. At one point, the dough has to rest overnight. Chef Vincent had prepared dough beforehand that rested overnight, so we cheated a bit and used that to make our final products. We did, however, double back and make the dough from the start, so I'm sure some other, later eaters enjoyed the fruits of our labor.
Finally, we had baking trays full of plain croissants, pain au chocolat (my favorite), and almond croissants.
We baked them, and I'd never felt more French in my life. Even when I lived in St. Amand-Montrond in a French boarding school and spoke French for the majority of every day. I still wore my Americanism like a hot pink scarf.
Stacey gazed upon the pastries and thought about the meaning of life.
Finally, we feasted.
If I'm being honest, I will probably never make croissants unless my French friends or my British friends come to visit. They are all better cooks than I am and could lend needed assistance. Otherwise, I'm not sure these beautiful babies will ever emerge from my kitchen. They were delicious, oui. But a girl's gotta work, you know?
Bien sur, if any of you want to come over and make a day (and slumber party) of it, I will reconsider. These would certainly make for a memorable Christmas morning, non?