It’s time for the World Cup Food Challenge, which calls for cooking the cuisines of all the participating nations, in order of game play. As I live in the Southwest, where salsa is used like catsup, I’m giving myself a bye on Mexico in this round and starting with France (here), South Africa (next up), and Uruguay (dinner).
These croissants are based on my memory of a snack I bought in a Metro station, which means the original was probably lemon-ginger flavored and acquired at Charles de Gaulle airport–or possibly creme-filled and purchased from a vending machine at a railway station in a town with a cathedral. To accompany this quickie adventure in baking, let’s try Julie Peel (listen), whom I’m told sings French pop but whose MySpace page says she lives in Brooklyn (and she sings folk/indie music in English, so trust no one but the artist!). Delightfully, this Sunday (June 13), she’s participating in the release party for Sing Me to Sleep: Indie Lullabies in New York City.
These goodies start with Pillsbury giant croissant dough. At this point, five people will interrupt to tell me that it’s perfectly quick and easy to make one’s own pastry, and it tastes so much better. I’m sure it is, but I’m a critter of impulse who’s making only two servings. The rest of the canned dough goes in the freezer for later, and I haven’t filled my sink with bowls and rolling pins and breadboards. Since I’ll be cooking a lot this weekend, dirty-dishes-generated is a consideration.
Spread the dough with marmalade. Lick the spoon. “Living in a Movie” sets a bouncy beat that contrasts with the wistfulness of Peel’s voice. The wistfulness is supported by a sound rich in acoustic strings: banjo, ukelele, lap steel guitar, upright bass, and cello. Peel also plays kazoo, should a kazoo be needed.
Sprinkle well with chocolate chips. Feeling relief at finding a use for the Nestle mini-baking chips that are useless for the highest and proper use of chocolate chips (eating by the handful out of the freezer) is optional. Try eating a few to comfort oneself about the melancholy and loss that imbues many of Peel’s songs. Discover they’re still too small to taste like anything.
Roll up the dough. I tried one as a conventional crescent roll and the other as a sort of package, to see which would ooze more marmalade all over the baking sheet. It is not a coincidence that the baking sheet is lined with tin foil. I do not own the chisel needed to remove burnt-on marmalade from cheap cookware.
Pop in a 350 oven for about 12 minutes. Check the weather to determine that what’s outside is not rain pouring onto gray Paris alleys. Pause to appreciate that Peel typically writes an entire song in about the time that these babies require for assembly and cooking. Try to pick out the kazoo part. Try again. Note that one’s life is not filmed in black-and-white. Yet. Redecorating entirely in shabby flea market finds from the 1940s could fix this.
And here it is, golden and gooey!
These are insanely rich, sweet, and tangy. A long walk up Montmartre might be helpful in moderating the impact of the calories.
Or one could always hop on a Vespa. In black-and-white. This version of “Once More with Feeling” is my preferred one, as it leaves out the stubborn parts of the original, a lesson I might want to heed.