Its size stupefies, firstly and surely. Measuring approximately eight inches from end to end or if I stretch my pinky and thumb as far as they can go, that’s the extent of pleasure promised. This is the Almond Croissant served at Java+, the Marriott’s satellite café.
Italians call a croissant a cornetto, part of their daily morning fare which they chew on in between sips of a cappuccino. The French call a croissant the ultimate breakfast, while I call a croissant, especially this one, a rare affair. Because the Marriott is so far removed from my stomping grounds, I utilize every opportunity to stock up on my supply – only to blow it all in one fell swoop. Such is the effect of this croissant that it encourages – nay, urges! – embarrassing consumption and leaves mortifying messes on the kitchen table.
An exceptional croissant possesses puffy, parchment-thin skin. It’s made by the laminating method, wherein butter is rolled into the dough and folded over repeatedly, creating hundreds of layers. I look at its surface closely and see minute bubbles, pockets of air trapped for eternity by the heat of the oven. They promise shattering crispness, a prelude to the flaky crumb inside.
A butter croissant (above) is fine but I like the almond croissant best. As opposed to the more “constricted” crescent shape of the former, the almond croissant is a stretched out crescent, its surface scattered with sliced almonds and a shower of powdered sugar. Hidden within the whorls of pastry – or is it air? – is a trail of pastry cream perfumed with vanilla and almond essence. Velvety-smooth, sweet, and silent, it holds its own against the seeming cacophony of the croissant’s toasty counterpoint and the crunch of those almonds.
When you go to Java+, have a look at the flaky pastries set before you. The butter croissants are fabulous and you can’t go wrong with those Danish pastries, edible pinwheels seemingly spinning in the pin lights. But I spur you to go for the almond croissants. Wipe out the café’s supply as I’ve done, and then have two for breakfast. Eat them all by yourself. As I have done.
Almond Croissant (P90) at Java+
Marriott Hotel Manila
No. 10 Newport Boulevard, Newport City Complex
Pasay City, Manila