“I’ll take this as a healthy reminder that subtlety… isn’t everything”

-Alan Rickman, after winning a Bafta for Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves


I was very saddened to read of Alan Rickman’s recent death. I thought he had a terrific sense of humour and the following story illustrates why.

A few years ago we had a group of thespians to stay, Alan Rickman and Richard Wilson among them. We had a slap-up dinner, and breakfast the following morning was a slightly hushed affair involving a certain amount of hangover nursing.


all about croissants

Following a slap up meal….

That was until Alan suddenly burst into the room with dripping hair and in a soaking wet tee shirt announcing “it’s raining in my bedroom”.

The Chief Taster, who was sitting next to Richard at the time, looked at Alan in astonishment, and exclaimed “I don’t believe it!”.

Quick as a flash Richard told him “That’s my line!” – and the whole room erupted. At the time we were alone in not knowing that this was the catchphrase of Victor Meldrew, the character he played in the BBC sitcom One Foot in the Grave.

Alan was very good humoured about his soaking (caused by a broken pipe in the bathroom above) – the featured image for this post was taken minutes after he’d changed into a dry shirt.

Due to the excesses of the previous night breakfast that day was a simple fresh coffee and freshly baked croissants. We get frozen croissants from our local village shop, but most supermarkets also sell frozen croissants and you can also buy them in a tin – just take off the top and bottom and unwind the cardboard packaging.


Defrosted croissants waiting to be baked

Defrosted croissants waiting to be baked

We also provided homemade apricot jam, which a German friend informed me (to my amazement) is a very British custom.

However – in Italy you can get croissants plain; sprinkled with icing sugar; and ready-filled with custard (crema); or apricot jam (marmellata).


Italian croissants

Italian croissants – usually filled with custard or jam.

Best way to cook frozen croissants

The best way to cook frozen croissants is to defrost them the night before – leave them out on a greased baking tray, by the oven.

In the morning preheat the oven to 180°C and bake the croissants for 20 minutes. If you have a four door Aga, use the baking oven and turn the croissants around halfway through baking.


Best place to eat croissants

Where’s the best place to eat freshly baked croissants? It’s hard to beat those served at the chain, Pauls, unless you’re in Australia. If you’re in Melbourne try Lune Croissanterie.


how to bake croissants

Fresh croissants being baked at my local Paul’s

The worst place to buy croissants

Where’s the worst place to buy a ready-made one? Tesco. Why? The supermarket has taken the decision to sell only straight croissants. Again, why? Because it says its customers, apparently, struggle to spread their jam on crescent-shaped croissants…. ” I don’t believe it”, comments my beloved, once again incredulous, the cynic in him then pointing out that crescent-shaped croissants take up much more expensive shelf space.


The best place to buy croissants

Where’s the best place to buy a ready-made one? In May 2017 The Guardian published a croissant taste test which put Waitrose at the top of the tree, with Sainsbury’s and Aldi joint second….all the other major supermarkets trailing far behind.


What to do with leftover, stale croissants

Idea One – sweet: Baker, Richard Bertinet, says the best almond croissants are made with stale plain croissants (fresh ones collapse). He suggests cutting the croissant in half and soaking in rum syrup. Then filling and topping it with frangipane (a sweet almond paste).

Idea Two – savoury: use the croissant to form a base, cover with a creamy sauce – béchamel – and sprinkle with spinach, or mushrooms, and cheese. Bake in an oven preheated to 180°C for about ten minutes.


A bit of history

And, to finish, a random fact about croissants. They were originally invented by the Christians being besieged at the siege of Vienna in 1485. The inspiration for the shape came from the crescent moon on their besiegers’ pennants.


This post is dedicated to Alan Rickman and to Richard Wilson, who, the previous evening, had very possibly saved a man’s life.

how to cook croissants

A simple breakfast of freshly baked croissants and coffee


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Alan Rickman Recites…..

Follow this link to hear Alan Rickman recite the poem If Death Is Not The End….. otherwise

I don’t believe it…..

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mJD6fg9Ld5A]