7thumbsup's Blog

The healing power of pastry


As Edward Norton once said to Robin Williams in the movie “Death to Smoochy”, “We all got our bad days.”

Sometimes, to get through the bad days, you just have to do something that makes you feel good – and in my case, that often ends up being something culinary. I like a challenge – and I like the feeling I get when I succeed. (This feeling is much unlike the time I decided to try making corn tortillas – used the wrong kind of flour – and failed miserably. The feeling I got when we had to go to the store and buy them after was a bad feeling – one of defeat.)

Recently, some good (and beautiful and talented and wonderful and charming – is it working? are they listening – we love you and your pastry delivery) friends of ours made (AND DELIVERED) “Pain au Chocolat” – it was amazing, flaky, buttery, chocolaty (I feel like there should be an “e” in chocolaty but spellcheck is telling me otherwise) – and so so good.

Thus, on a day when my ego needed some boosting, I decided to give it a try and dive headlong in to my own puff pastry adventure. Terrifying? Yes. Satisfying? Oh, yes.

From the soothing hum of my mixer affixed with dough-hook, to the scraping and smooshing of butter and flour, all the way to the strong-arm of the dough rolling avec fondant roller and wine bottle – this was an experience I wish to repeat again and again – for more than just the house that smells of butter and chocolate. I would repeat this just for the glory any day. Yes folks, in the folds and the layers, there is a certain freedom to be found – there is release. There is butter – my god – there is so much butter. And yes, in that bubbling and puffing up of pastry and ego when you realize you’ve done it correctly, and that it worked the way it was supposed to, there is glory.

Pain au Chocolat

I used two recipes online for my adventure – this one (Simply So Good) for the ingredients and method, and this one (Graces Sweet Life) for the step by step photos.

Next time, I would probably splurge and get myself a real rolling pin – but you can get by without (I used a little fondant roller and a wine bottle, but things ended up a little uneven) and I would have used a ruler to measure properly so I got more uniformity in size and shape.

Here are some photos of the process as it happened in my kitchen! (sadly I missed photographing one of the most important steps – folding the butter square in to the pastry – but there are many to be seen online!)


I strongly urge you to try this – it’s a lot of fun and so totally worth it in the end – and did I mention delicious? Among all of the other things that this is, the main one is delicious. So, on those days when you just can’t seem to get going – sit back, get yourself a coffee, and tuck in to one of these bad boys. (I just said tuck in, hehehe, thank you for that Jamie Oliver ;) )

All the best to all of you – I have mucho exciting career news at the moment – stay tuned for more on all of that here when I come up with a way to relate it to food. In the meantime you can read all about it here on my facebook page – http://www.facebook.com/AllisonCroweMusic . ( Seriously though, I will come up with a post all about it once I find a delicious celebratory food to relate to it all, as there is so truly much to celebrate it’s hard to fit in one post! ;)  )

In other news, I have just discovered the awesomeness that is Battlestar Galactica – which is probably why I felt the need to make such an intense and motivational speech about pastry and butter. Holy frack. Starbuck is my hero. (aside from all the other shows that I loved already – Community, Parks and Rec, the Walking Dead, the Killing – the list goes on.)

At any rate, take care of eachother – love and hugs and healing pastry to you all. xoxo