Croissants are iconic. They say France and they invoke the smell of coffee and the taste of apricot jam in whichever setting of that extraordinary country to which you have been transported by your imagination – blue seas, peaceful mountains or immersed in the honking horns of the bustling city. Petit déjeuner, for me, exists in hotels and cafés neither of which I frequent first thing in the morning any more. I live deep in the café and hotel free countryside where I favour a cup of coffee with my emails and a banana whilst I consider the next move of the day. However, in preparation for a recent visit from our son, I had bought a bag of croissants in case the petit déjeuner fantasy got the better of him. It didn’t and I was left with more croissants at which you could shake a stick. I was left with the option of feeding them all the two matronly moutons in the field next door or finding an interesting way of eating at least one of them. Leafing through my books led me to this very sexy preparation which originated in the fertile culinary mind of Nigel Slater. Core a dessert apple, cut it into quarters and cut the quarters into four. Heat some butter in a pan and add the apple slices whilst, with the other hand, turning on the grill. Whilst the apples turn meltingly golden take the opportunity to slit some croissants in half lengthwise and brown them under the grill. When the apples are suitably sticky they just need a splash of Calvados swirled through them. Spinning on your heel you bend to open the freezer door and extricate a box of vanilla or caramel ice cream. Place two scoops of ice cream on one half of the hot, crisp croissant and top with Calvados imbued slices of warm, buttery apple s with some of the pan juices. Put on a crisp croissant lid and as the ice cream melts find a reasonably unmessy way of putting the delicious confection in your gob.
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