Today, I’m not going to post a healthy recipe. I was going to write about how salads can be tasty and not boring (which I’ll do in another post) but instead, I chose pastries.
AH yes, flaky, buttery chocolate croissants. The crunchy outside with the soft delicate pastry inside, with melted dark chocolate. I absolutely love making them, even though the process takes me two full days, the outcome is always worth it.
I always make the for my best friend when she comes for her annual visit, we enjoy a flat white and devour the pastries, chatting away.
So, how can someone who is so strict on a healthy diet eat pastries, you may think? It’s not that I don’t enjoy pastries, instead, I choose to be picky over the quality of the pastries and the ingredients used.
So, here’s what I want you to look for when you buy pastries;
Stoneground flour contains the germ, endosperm, and bran which gives the flour more nutritional value and flavor. The bran provides protein, vitamins, and fibre that are vital in maintaining a healthy digestive system. The germ contains vitamin B and fatty acids for brain function and finally, the endosperm contains carbohydrates, starch, protein, and iron.
By using stone mills, the plant is not heated and therefore retains the vitamins and nutrients.
Artisanal bakeries are popping up all over the place so there is really no excuse to buy decent pastries. These shops use quality ingredients, most definitely stoneground flour and the pastries are prepared by hand and not by some processing machine in a factory!
Artisanal bakeries are usually small business owners that are very passionate about their products, which I am happy to support on a regular basis.
Butter is the key ingredient to pastry, as it is the ingredient that gives the pastry that flaky texture. The dough and butter is rolled and folded to create layers upon layers of butter and dough. When the pastries are baked, the butter melts into the dough, giving it that buttery taste we love so much, but also leaves an open-air pocket which gives the croissant that lightness.
Real farm butter is essential in a good pastry, so don’t fall for the margarine-type. Or anything that comes from a factory.
Good quality ingredients
Whether it’s dark chocolate, custard, jams, preserves. These ingredients should always be of the highest quality to accompany your sweet treat. Homemade jams and preserves taste better as they are made in small batches when the ingredients are at their sweetest and ripest.
Ask your baker if he uses free-range eggs.
At the end of the day, life, and a healthy lifestyle, is about balance. Never deprive yourself from a food group. I don’t believe in rewarding yourself with a cheat meal or dessert, but including it in my normal life in moderation. Always choose the best ingredients as it is what you put into your body that matters. It can only use what you give it.
Natia Van Heerden