Not only can Clemence give a great book review, she can also make what I have named “The Perfect Crescent Roll”. Her picture is beautiful.
The Perfect Crescent Roll
Makes 18 rolls
Scald: 7/8 cup milk
Stir into it, until melted and dissolved: 1 tablespoon lard or vegetable oil
1.5 tablespoons sugar and 1 teaspoon salt.
Cool until lukewarm. Add: 1 package active dry yeast dissolved in 1/3 cup 105-115 F water
Stir in or knead in to make a soft, sticky dough about 2.5 cups sifted all-purpose flour
Knead on a lightly floured surface, using a pastry scraper to flip the soft dough end over end 10 times. The dough should not hold together. Place dough in an untreated bowl. Cover with a cloth and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1.5 hours. Cover the dough with a lid and place in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled, at least 20 minutes. Roll or pat it out on a floured surface into an oblong 0.25 inch thick.
Now, fold into the dough: 1 cup cold butter
Spread the butter over two-thirds the surface of the dough, leaving an unbuttered border 0.25 inch wide. Fold the unbuttered third over the center third. Then, fold the remaining third over the doubled portion. The dough is now 3 layers. Swing the layered dough on a quarter turn. Roll it again in thirds as before. Sprinkle dough lightly with flour, cover with plastic or waxed wrap and chill 1.5 hours.
Unwrap and allow the unwrapped dough to rest on a lightly floured surface about 10 minutes. Twice again, roll into a rectangle and fold in 3 layers. Then, roll it again on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of 0.25 inch.
Now, cut off any folded edges which might keep the dough from expanding. Cut the dough into 3-in squares, and cut the squares on the bias. Roll the triangular pieces, beginning with the wide side and stretching them slightly as you roll. Shape the rolls into crescents.
Place the crescents on a baking sheet. Chill at once for 0.5 hour. Never allow them a final rising, as they will not have the proper flakiness.
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Bake the crescents 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 350 F and bake until done – 10 to 15 minutes longer.