In The Basque Book, Alexandra Raij takes a look into the recipes and traditions of this rich gastronomic region.
One person’s lifeless, dry croissant is a Basque café’s beyond-delicious invention. I saw my first croissant a la plantxa in Bilbao when my now prima politica (Basque cousin-in-law) Idoia ordered one with her coffee at a posh café near her office. I still remember how completely floored I was when it arrived at our table in its golden gorgeousness, and I can even recall the thoughts that raced through my reeling brain: What? A buttery pastry refried in butter and dusted with sugar? You’re going to eat it with a knife and fork like it’s a pork chop? This is a snack? Oh my God, this is the most over-the-top midafternoon snack I have ever seen!
Breakfast for dessert, dessert for breakfast, and unapologetic midafternoon snack—the croissant a la plantxa fits all of these roles perfectly. And incidentally, it will also make you look absolutely brilliant in front of your friends and children.
- To make the honey butter, put the butter, honey, and salt in a bowl. Using the tip of a knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean halves into the bowl, and then stir to mix thoroughly. If your butter is soft, you can do this easily with two forks or a small rubber spatula or palate knife.
- Heat 1 teaspoon butter in a large nonstick frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the croissants, cut side down, and cook for about 2 minutes, until nicely browned on the first side. Flip the croissants and brown for about 2 minutes on the second side.
- Transfer the croissants to individual serving plates, placing 2 halves, cut side up, on each plate. Dust with confectioners’ sugar and accompany with the honey butter and marmalade. Store any leftover honey butter in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and bring to room temperature before serving.
Reprinted with permission from The Basque Book by Alexandra Raij with Eder Montero and Rebecca Flint Marx, copyright © 2016, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.