Making my “Méci mama” proud: Salty Crescent Rolls, the best bread substitute

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Until she was well enough, my maternal grandmother, Meci mama made these delicious, enriched bread like bakes every single Sunday. She  got up early in the morning, and by the time I awakened I could steal the first few ready crescents before I attended church service with my grandfather. My angelic grandmother made enough for the entire family for a whole week (at least she intended to, but did not count on our greed…), and they were good enough as treats, pudding, snack or instead of bread. The crescent was as humble, as gorgeous, as stable feature as my Nan. I truly, deeply, lovingly miss both… 

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Recreating the crescent is always a sacred act. It is my Sunday morning remembrance, and rather than recreating a recipe, I bring memories, flavours, feelings and a sense of safety back to life. In my grandparents’  house SMELL opened the door for the visitor, VISION of treats invited the guest to sit down, and TASTES made sure everyone was keen to return.

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Ingredients

50 ml milk

50 g sugar

20 g fresh yeast

100 g lard

50 g oil

100 g cream cheese

300 g flour

2 egg yolk, plus some more for egg wash

In a large bowl, mix flour with sugar and salt than make a well in the center. Dissolve the fresh yeast in the milk and add to middle the flour mixture. Add eggs, cream cheese and shortening, mix everything together. Knead until the dough is smooth and soft. Cover with a clean dish towel and let it rise for about 1 hour in a warm area, until doubled in size.

Punch dough down and divide into 2 equal parts. Form them into balls. On a floured surface roll each part into a 16 to 17 inch round, using a rolling pin. With the back of a spoon, spread about 2 tbsp of oil onto the dough round. Cut the round into 8 triangles (like slicing a pizza). Roll each triangle into crescents, starting from the outside edge of the triangle. Once rolled, curve the edges and place on a lined baking tray with the tip tucked down and under the roll. Repeat rolling with the rest of the triangles. Let them rise for about 20 minutes. Mix an egg yolk with oil and a drop of water and brush the tops of the rolls with it. Sprinkle it with small seeds (e.g. chia, onion or caraway), cheese or paprika.

Pre-heat the oven to 200C and bake for 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden brown. Let them cool on a wire rack few minutes before serving.

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Would anyone like to come around for a cup of tea?

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