My Life in France by Julia Child is currently on my bedside table, and I'm savouring every word. Admittedly this is my first real read of hers, and I'm blushing as I write this, but I've never made one of her recipes, and I've only seen a few clips of her TV show. This is shameful, and something I must remedy ASAP. Of course I read Julie and Julia, and saw the movie too; not sure if I fell in love more with Meryl Streep or Julia Child. My favourite scene in the movie takes place at one of their dinner parties and Paul is toasting her, saying she's the "butter to his bread, the breath to his life." So. Lovely.
Seems like I've been drawn to all things French lately.....A few nights ago I watched Coco Avant Chanel, starring the absolutely gorgeous Audrey Tatou, whom you may recall was in one of my favourite movies, Amelie. Coco was wonderful as well - full of fashion and glorious Parisian panorama. Who knew Chanel was such a social rebel?
I've never been to France. Heck I've never even been to Europe, which is a travesty in itself. What sort of self-respecting food lover can write about and live food like I do, and yet has not seen Le Tour Eiffel? A trip is slowly being plotted in the back of my mind: a hiking tour perhaps; through lavender fields even better. Stops along the way for dining with the locals, and sipping extraordinary wine. Then stationing myself in Paris of course.... cafe au lait and croissants on the riverbank; museums and markets; eating until I can eat no more. "France before Forty" is slowly becoming my mantra. Who wants to come along?
Being inspired by France and all of its loveliness, I decided to simulate something here, that I know I will love there: Pain au Chocolat. This recipe has been hiding out in a binder of mine for years, and I don't know why I haven't made it sooner. Nothing could be simpler or more lavish on a brunch table; or boxed up with a pretty bow and brought with you to someone else's brunch table. Easily prepped the night before, and a quick bake in the morning - Voila! Melted dark chocolate mingles with the buttery layers of puff pastry in a heavenly poem* that is sure to send you pining for France.
Pétit Pain Au Chocolat
2 sheets puff pastry (one 17.3 ounce package), thawed, each sheet cut into 12 squares. Or if you are unable to find the sheet kind, roll out each half until 1/8 inch thick, and cut into squares. (The sheet size I used was approximately 13"x 17" and I cut 12 squares out of that. If you can't find that big a size, just roll out what you can, and make the squares accordingly.
1 large egg, beaten, with a bit of water
4 100g. bars bittersweet or milk chocolate. Each bar cut into six 2x1" pieces, about. Mine sort of just cracked and I dished it out accordingly.