Oh, the delightful sight and smell of hot croissants! How they beguile us to buy them and savour them with a cup of joe in the morning (or noon or evening!).
While most people associate croissants with France, the shocking fact is this scrumptious treat wasn’t invented there. Food historians say that it originated in Austria and in Eastern Europe in the form of small pastries known as ‘kipferl’.
Records say that kipferls were made around the 13th century and they were either served plain or loaded with nuts. They were quite similar to the ‘rugelach’, which is a staple of Yiddish cuisine and eaten across Eastern Europe.
The croissant is lighter and more buttery than kipferls, which were denser and sweeter. In fact, in countries like Austria and Germany, they are eaten as Christmas cookies or enjoyed with coffee.
While there are many accounts about how this tasty treat reached France, the first verified version has a baker named August Zang introducing it in his sophisticated Parisian patisserie. Called the Boulangerie Viennoise, this patisserie offered many famous Austrian delights, including kipferl. These, however, were flakier and soon most Parisians started calling them croissants due to their crescent shape.
Types of Croissants
Croissants are made using yeast-risen dough. The baker layers the dough with butter and roll it up many times. This process is known as lamination. The dough is then cut into triangles and it is rolled to create a crescent shape before being baked. All those layers of butter make it flaky and fluffy.
The very first type of croissant is the ‘croissant au berre’. This is made using a lot of butter which makes it slightly salty and full of a buttery flavour.
Then there is the ‘pain au chocolat’. This version has butter and chocolate in it. Bars of chocolate are folded in the buttery dough before this concoction is baked.
The next in line is the ‘croissant aux amandes’. This divine creation is filled with almond cream and garnished with sliced almonds. This croissant is re-baked to give it a crisp texture which sets it apart from the others in the list.
Another type of croissant is the ‘pain aux raisins’. This one is filled with raisins that are paired either with custard or almond cream. It is a sweet, flaky creation that’s loved by people the world over to have with tea or coffee.
The ‘croissant ordinaries’ is your everyday croissant. It can be made using either butter or margarine. While it is crescent-shaped in most cases, it is not as buttery as the croissant au beurre. In most cases, it is eaten for breakfast. Some people like to slice it into two and fill it up with their favourites to make it into a satisfying sandwich.
At Avon Bakers, we are famous for our light and crisp croissants. While most of our clients sing praises of our delights like the butterscotch caramel croissants and cheese croissants, our chocolate burst croissants are equally famous among both adults and children.