As I mentioned earlier, I signed up for a 3-hour intensive workshop at Sur la table to learn how to make the quintessential French treat, the croissant. I have always wanted to learn how to make these flaky gifts from heaven at home, but every time I looked up a recipe I was immediately turned off by the amount of time it takes to prepare them. Alas, Sur la table to the rescue. I figured if the class was 3-hours and yielded three kinds of croissants, it was definitely doable.
I have taken other cooking classes there before and have always enjoyed the hands on experience. I was the first of six students to arrive and was promptly offered cappuccino and two types of scones warm from the oven. That alone was worth my class fee!
The packet that contains the Classic Croissant Dough recipe along with the two other varieties we were preparing was quite comprehensive and I’ll admit, both intimidating and overwhelming. Our instructor, Natalia, cautioned us right away not to be nervous, that croissant making while time consuming, is not difficult.
Over the next three hours, she walked us through all the steps–from mixing the dough and preparing the butter block to the turning and folding process. We were in groups of three and I really enjoyed working alongside the other students learning how to shape the dough into the perfectly proportioned rectangle. Who knew there would be so much measuring involved!
There is a lot of downtime in between folds and then cutting and filling the croissants, but much like the magic of a TV kitchen, there was dough in advanced stages already prepared for us, so we didn’t have to wait in between steps for the dough to chill or proof. We filled our buttery dough with smoked ham and Gruyere and chopped dark chocolate and then patiently waited as they baked in the oven. Let me just say the smell was intoxicating and they tasted even better. We each filled our bakery boxes with plenty of croissants to take home and the rest we ate in class. A perfect way to spend a Tuesday afternoon. For classes in your area, check out www.surlatable,com. The complete recipe can be found in The Art and Soul of Baking by Sur la table and Cindy Mushet.