Romeo and Juliet croissants

by Stevie on September 19, 2011

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Whenever Hegui and I travel to Brazil, one of my favorite desserts to enjoy there is “Romeo e Julieta,” which consists of a small plate with a piece of very white, salty and mild cheese and either a small scoop or slice of red guava preserves. The colors are always dramatic: pure white and deep red. I’m fascinated by the taste and the name: Romeo and Juliet? I’ve asked many times which is which? Is the white cheese Romeo and the red guava Juliet or vice versa? Nobody seems to know the answer.

Romeo and Juliet croissants

Romeo and Juliet croissants

In preparation for this story, I’ve been reflecting more on the colors of the two filling ingredients. To me, the whiteness of the cheese implies purity, cleanliness, simple joy, innocence, naivety, and surrender; the deep red, passion, lust, love, anger, and blood. Really then, the Brazilian dessert might be about the relationship between Romeo and Juliet, which as almost everyone knows was full of innocent love, blood lust, passion, surrender, naivety and all the rest.

When I think of these star-crossed lovers, I’m reminded of that amazing modernized film version of the Shakespeare play directed by Baz Luhrmann, Romeo + Juliet. Have you seen it? It’s the one with Claire Danes as Juliet and Leonard DiCaprio as Romeo. The filming is visually stunning. I especially love the famous part where Romeo climbs to Juliet’s balcony at night. In the film version, they fall into a breathtaking Southern California-style swimming pool in their party costumes as they hide from detection by the Capulet guards and Juliet’s Nurse. I’ll never forget it. Here’s the link on U-tube if you haven’t seen it.

ROMEO
But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?
It is the East, and Juliet is the sun.
Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,
Who is already sick and pale with grief
That thou, her maid, art far more fair than she.
Be not her maid since she is envious.
Her vestal livery is but sick and green,
And none but fools do wear it. Cast it off.
It is my lady. O, it is my love!
O, that she knew she were!
She speaks, yet she says nothing. What of that?
Her eye discourses; I will answer it.
I am too bold…

JULIET
O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?

This was my inspiration for today’s friendly cooking challenge: Julia Child’s croissants. Actually, this time I suggested making croissants for the challenge, but my dearest Heavenly was the force behind the organization of the delightful event. If you haven’t already, check the links below to see how the other participants’ creations turned out.

Heavenly from donuts to delirium
Vanessa from Sweet Artichoke
Anna from Keep it Luce
Joumana from Taste of Beirut
Glamorous Glutton
Jamie’s Girl
Christina from Thyme to be Loved
Erika Beth from Life’s too Short to Skip Dessert
Faith from An Edible Mosaic

Sadly, I have to admit that I had some trouble with this recipe. I followed Mamaliga’s instructions and her really helpful photos demonstrating the various moves as well as I could. I made some accidental alternations to Ms. Child’s original recipe. I forgot to buy milk, for one, so I used soy milk instead. And trying to be really cool and P.C., I got an extremely overpriced tiny bag of organic pastry flour to make my 2:1 ratio of pastry to all purpose flour mix, only to realize when I got home that the pastry flour was whole wheat. I’m not sure but I think that that made a difference.

my two bags of flour with the printed instructions and illustrations for Julia Child's croissants

my two bags of flour with the printed instructions and illustrations for Julia Child's croissants

adding the butter to the leavened dough

adding the butter to the leavened dough

I even used a ruler to measure the dough, just like was recommended.

I even used a ruler to measure the dough, just like was recommended.

To make these “Romeo and Juliet” croissants, I filled each with about a teaspoon full of guava butter (from my local Brazilian market) and mascarpone cheese (the traditional salty dessert cheese from Brazil doesn’t really melt that well) before rolling them into their final shapes and letting them undergo their last rise. That’s my only addition to this straightforward yet challenging recipe.

As you might have guessed, making these takes forever. You have to let the dough rise; then add butter, fold and rest; then fold and rest again; then shape and rise again, then bake. The French must be very patient people. But the taste, divine! My god, these little messes were really, really, really good. And I don’t write that very often at all. These were good!

my guava and mascarpone

my guava and mascarpone

the final rise

the final rise

I’m not going to recreate the recipe here, since in all other respects I followed it as precisely as I could. And really, Mamaliga’s pics in the kitchen are way better than mine ever could be. I had a lot of trouble at the end forming the final bits of dough into the correct triangular designs to roll smoothly into similarly shaped croissants. Plus I was a bit rushed, as our dinner guests where about to arrive. Instead, I fear that mine looked a bit like malnourished newborn puppies, all wiggling around in a basket.

I will make these again, eventually, perhaps when I’ve hours and hours of unstructured time on my hands. But for now, I’ll just daydream.

tasty, and fun to play with, too

tasty, and fun to play with, too

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Heavenly Housewife September 19, 2011 at 1:31 am

Awesome job, and I love your inspiration! I’ve never heard of these Romeo and Juliet croissants, but just the name is enough to make me want to have them :D.
You picked a fabulous challenge daaaaahling! This has been my most fun one ever.
*kisses* HH

Barbara September 19, 2011 at 3:59 am

Good for you! I love the idea of savory croissants. It was well worth the effort if they tasted divine…HH has such fun challenges!

Krista September 19, 2011 at 5:13 am

Love your twist on these beautiful classics. :-) I’ve often wanted to make whole grain croissants and it’s great to read about your experience with it. :-)

Erika Hennings September 19, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Lovely! (Come on, admit it – making croissants was much more fun than you expected.) Oh, and I LOVE the flavor combo you used for the croissants. Brilliant!

Faith September 19, 2011 at 12:58 pm

Your croissants are gorgeous! What a fun flavor…your inspiration for it is really beautiful. I’m with you…even though I enjoyed making these (and I really enjoyed the outcome, lol) I probably won’t be doing it again any time soon.

Anna September 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Whew! That was hard work. But I love your guava idea and the Romeo and Juliet theme – and considering the few accidental alterations you made, these look like they came out lovely! I found it difficult to make the crescent shape I wanted with the instructions… which is why I decided to cut mine like a pizza instead. Sorry, Julia but I just had to!! :D thanks again for letting me participate :D it was fun!!

tasteofbeirut September 19, 2011 at 4:26 pm

Great idea and post! Loved the original Romeo and Juliet by Zeffirelli I think and lve the idea of eating a pastry with that name! the guava and mascarpone idea is brilliant! giving the croissants an exotic Brazilian twist.

purabi naha September 19, 2011 at 11:23 pm

I am amazed! What an interesting recipe!! Loved the guava and cheese stuffing!

Angie's Recipes September 20, 2011 at 8:54 am

I’ve never heard of these Romeo and Juliet croissants…yours look gorgeous!

Juliana September 20, 2011 at 6:18 pm

Growing up in Brazil we used to have all kind of pastry a la Romeo and Juliet…and your croissant sure look delicious, love the flavor!
Hope you are having a wonderful week :-)

Lili September 20, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Well, I am the one daydreaming now. I love goiabada Cascao com queijo. Now, this combo in a croissant? Sign me up!! :D

sophia September 20, 2011 at 11:11 pm

I found your blog through Faith’s and I have to say: I’m in love with your writing!!! Love your whimsical thought process and your smart writing style. :-)
I’ve had guava and cheese combinations on crackers and tamales, but not croissants. It sounds wonderful!

Glamorous Glutton September 21, 2011 at 12:21 am

Thank younfor setting this challenge with HH, it was fun but hard to do. Yours look great and using sweet guava with savoury mascapone is a delicious idea. Is the Romeo & Juliet name because like the lovers the two flavours are so good together they shouldn’t be separated? GG

Devaki @ weavethousandflavors September 22, 2011 at 7:49 pm

LOVE that pic of you playing th devil Hegui and yes you have ‘his’ perseverance. You made home made croissants and for that I kao tao to you :) Sorry you had trouble with the recipe – i just can’t get over that you tried.

chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

LeQuan September 22, 2011 at 9:55 pm

I’ve never made croissants before so I was surprised to read how time consuming it was. Kudos to you for giving this recipe a try. Your croissants look lovely and delicious. I didn’t even know guava butter existed, how interesting. Love that you followed this recipe to a T and even brought out a ruler! Keep up the adventurous baking.

Shelley September 23, 2011 at 6:36 am

Baz Luhrmann is a genius, isn’t he? I like Romeo + Juliet even more than Moulin Rouge, and that’s saying a lot! Great job on the croissants- I love the addition of the guava butter and mascarpone. I wish I could have joined you all for the challenge but the over 100 degree Fahrenheit temps in Austin weren’t exactly conducive to making puff pastry. Wah!

Sara September 26, 2011 at 7:14 am

These look great. Otimo! I love almond filled croissants, but I’d go for these too. I love reading your brazilian food adventures!

Magic of Spice September 27, 2011 at 9:02 am

Bravo! You are so much braver than I :) These came out wonderfully…always a favorite but one I have never tried on my own.

Jaime October 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm

You should post the recipes from the flour bags

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