It probably says something about my personality that I am so inclined to double-down on challenges, rather than re-think my course. Obviously this is a plus in some instance, a minus in others: if I was on a dangerous hike, I guess, or some other strenuous physical enterprise, it could get me killed. But in terms of baking in the safety of my own kitchen yesterday, it has simply resulted in me having a metric ton of well-laminated pastry for absolutely no reason.
That’s right: it’s the return of the All-Butter Power Hour, this time, literally.
If you don’t frequent the online literary spheres, you might not be familiar with the term “procrasti-baking,” but that’s what this all started as. While waiting for a set of edits this weekend, instead of putting my time to good use and really thinking through the changes I would be embarking on when those edits arrived, I decided that I wanted to learn how to make from-scratch croissants. “This will be insanely time-consuming and serve no real purpose,” my subconscious observed. “It is perfect. Deviate never from this path.”
But I did deviate. That is, I decided to make a batch of Danish pastry dough from Ruby Tandoh’s baking book Crumb (and let’s be honest, The Great British Bake-Off is at least as much to blame for this decision of mine as I am; Ruby is a past contestant, and Dave and I just watched the most recent season’s semi-final. I walk in search of the elusive perfect bake), which would allow me to experiment not only with croissants but a number of other laminated pastry styles. I thought I’d quarter the recipe for each, and get a tidy bundle of baked goods.
However, I messed up my first set of starter dough (if you know intuitively what “dry and shaggy” dough is supposed to look like, you’re a better person than I), and when I re-made it in the morning, I got spooked, and made a second batch, figuring that at least one would work out. Unfortunately, both did.
I now live on a Mount Olympus formed entirely from my own baking output. It is beautiful here. It is buttery. We also have a lot of Halloween candy, just to round out the available sugar, and I will be encouraging teenagers to “go ahead and just take a handful” come Halloween night, and still end up with extra. This is my way.
Anyhow, that’s the story of how a Taurus tried to make a simple batch of croissants and ended up founding a new civilization out of franzbrötchen cinnamon rolls and also learned to make pastry cream. Happy Halloween!