I really like croissants. Who doesn’t? I find myself never buying croissants at the grocery store or bakery because I’ll never not just have one. I’ll end up eating about ten while standing over the sink losing all dignity and sense of worth, and later on I’ll feel bad about the entire situation. Never enough to not eat again for the rest of the day or anything like that. Nothing that extreme. I’ve had this idea stuck in my mind though, more like a fantasy, where I make fresh croissants at home and they’re absolutely perfect and I get a standing ovation with a never ending applause from an invisible audience. That idea is quickly abandoned and the feeling of excitement quickly vanishes when I realize that making homemade croissant pastry dough is sort of hassle and quite time consuming. I’m no Martha Stewart and therefore I will not spend all day in the kitchen for anything. Nothing is that worth it. Maybe french fries, but those are quick to make. Although, the sound of spending all day in the kitchen making and eating fried potatoes does sound like the best day in the world.
Since I do have a life that doesn’t revolve around me folding cold butter into dough all day long and letting it rest for various amounts of time during the day, I’ve always cheated my way through “homemade” croissants. Have I talked to you guys about my love for frozen puff pastry yet? It’s the greatest thing ever invented and I use it all the time, especially when I want homemade chocolate croissants super fast without all of the work. Let’s get one thing straight, I am aware that it’s not the same thing as a pastry dough and it doesn’t get as flaky as traditional croissants, but you know I have to tell you, it’s pretty darn close and it gets the job done. Now I’m not trying to deter you from making traditional croissants at home, if you have that time and energy, then go for it! If you’re like me, however, and don’t have the patience, then get yourself over to a grocery store ASAP and pay the frozen food aisle a visit. While you’re there do yourself and everyone around you a favor and buy all the boxes of frozen puff pastry.
They’re great to have on hand for a lot of things really. You can use them to top off pot pies or make fruit filled hand pies or fake out danishes for breakfast or make puff pastry tarts topped with all sorts of delicious ingredients for appetizers. It’s a versatile ingredient and a pantry (freezer) essential. It’s gotten me out of many a last minute cooking/baking situation and I can’t recommend it enough. As I said earlier, the best thing to use puff pastry for is to make faux croissants. My friend Joy taught me to make quick croissants by filling puff pastry with chocolate chunks and rolling them around in cinnamon sugar and baking them off until golden brown and flaky. It’s an irresistible treat warm right out of the oven. This time around I’m filling them with a few spring ingredients like roasted asparagus and prosciutto and shredded gruyere cheese and champagne mustard. They’re part of my big Easter Brunch Bonanza going on right now. It’s the first recipe in our five recipe Easter bash and I think it’s a great way to start.