[Cheater's Poppyseed Roll]
In September of last year, when Maxence and I were spending some time in Alsace, we went shopping once in a supermarket in Munster. Yes, we did, can you imagine that? I mean — what fun! Actually, I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that on vacation, I’m always happy to browse the aisles of local grocery stores, studying the selection of regional products or just stuff that my neighborhood stores don’t carry.
On that particular day in that particular grocery store — I believe it was a Super U — our mission was to get all the fixings for a raclette, a typical mountain festive meal in which you melt raclette cheese in a special appliance and eat it with potatoes and charcuterie. Yum. But of course I couldn’t help looking at everything else — the yogurts and the cookies and the cereals and the chocolate — and one thing I threw into the cart when Maxence wasn’t looking was a baking-mix by Maïzena, the leading brand of corn starch. A baking-mix that whispered the sweet promise that it would help me make a half-dozen of cute and charming petits pains au pavot.
At the register, Maxence picked up the box and looked at me quizzically — his left eyebrow clearly asking, “Did another patron accidently put this in our cart?”. I looked away, whistling innocently. And the little box made its way with us to the house, then to the South-West where we drove next, and then back to Paris, where it crawled to the back of a kitchen cabinet to hide.
I forgot all about it until recently, as I was rummaging around for something else entirely (the remaining half of my package of gomasio spirulin — anyone seen it?) and my flailing hand landed on it. The expiration date was getting dangerously close so I decided to finally use it, to excellent results. You just pour the mix in a bowl (I checked the ingredients, nothing too scary in there), add water, knead the dough a little, divide it into six balls, let ‘em rise, let ‘em bake, and eat ‘em up! Oh, I know the very point of baking-mixes is to make your life easy-peasy, but still, they never fail to fill me with wonder and awe, as if I was witnessing some form of magic.
And those poppyseed rolls were pretty decent — crusty with a moist, almost scone-y inside, and excellent the next day for breakfast, too. Of course, in Paris we’re a little spoiled with our bread and I’ve had better petits pains au pavot, but never coming out of my oven, kneaded with love and my own two hands!