A croissant is a light flaky,and buttery viennoiserie pastry.
It is named for its historical crescent shape.
A croissant is made of a layered yeast-leavened dough. The dough is layered with butter, rolled and folded several times in succession, then rolled into a sheet, in a technique called laminating. The process results in a layered, flaky texture, similar to a puff pastry.
Uncooked croissant dough can also be wrapped around any praline, almond paste, or chocolate before it is baked (in the last case, it becomes like pain au chocolat, which has a different, non-crescent, shape), or sliced to include sweet or savoury fillings. It may be flavored with dried fruit such as sultanas or raisins, or other fruits such as apples.
In the United States, sweet fillings or toppings are sometimes used, and warm croissants may be filled with ham and cheese, or feta cheese and spinach.
However, croissants are most often eaten plain or with jam.
The croissant’s ancestor, the kipferl can be dated back to at least the 13th century in Austria.
The first recorded origin story about the croissant was comes from the Battle of Vienna, either in 1683 or during the earlier siege in 1529, to celebrate the defeat of the Ottoman attack on the city, with the shape referring to the crescents on the Ottoman flags.
This version of the origin of the croissant is supported by the fact that croissants in France are a variant of Viennoiserie, and by the French popular belief that Vienna-born Marie Antoinette introduced the pastry to France in 1770.
The popularity of Viennese-style baked goods in France began with the Viennese Bakery opened by August Zang in 1839.
The word “viennoiserie” – French for “things from Vienna.”
Alan Davidson, editor of the Oxford Companion to Food, found no printed recipe for the present-day croissant in any French recipe book before the early 20th century; the earliest French reference to a croissant he found was among the “fantasy or luxury breads” in Payen’s Des substances alimentaires, 1853.
By 1869, the croissant was well established enough to be mentioned as a breakfast staple, and in 1872, Charles Dickens wrote (in his periodical All the Year Round) of “the workman’s pain de ménage and the soldier’s pain de munition, to the dainty croissant on the boudoir table.”
Though the croissant is not originally a French pastry, it has been a staple in the French bakery since the 1920s when bakers perfected the shape and recipe of the croissants we savor every morning.
In the second part of the 20th century, the croissant took the fast-food industry by storm as manufacturers introduced pre-made frozen dough and takeaway “croissanteries” cropped up throughout France. The baked-goods corporation Sara Lee introduced a frozen croissant to America in 1981, which soon outpaced its famous pound cakes in sales. Burger King, Arby’s, and other fast-food chains followed with croissant breakfast sandwiches and savory stuffed croissants. As a 1984 New York Times article declared, “The Americanization of the croissant” had begun.
Croissants used to be high-class food.
Today, croissants are a common part of a breakfast around the world.
The Luxury Zebra Cro. sold at London’s Dum Dum Donutterie is the most expensive pastry in the world. So-called because of its striped layers, the Luxury Zebra Cro. is technically a Cronut – doughnut-croissant hybrid. The Cronut, which costs around $2000, includes saffron-infused butter croissant dough, Cristal rosé champagne caviar, gold leaf, Tahitian gold vanilla beans, and rare Amedei Porcelana chocolate, which is a dark chocolate made by the Amedei chocolatier of Tuscany and is often called the world’s most expensive chocolate.