Croissants are an iconic French bakery and breakfast pastry. Now all over the world, they’re enjoyed not only for breakfast but also lunch and even as a snack along with a warm cup of coffee or tea. The croissant, however, has a long history of how it came to be what we all know and love today.
They Came To Be In Battle
Although it’s not entirely clear where croissants were invented, what is clear is that they were invented during battle. Surprisingly enough, one theory of the creation of the croissant goes back to Vienna.
During the Battle of Vienna in 1683, Austria defeated the Ottoman Empire. Their very flag features a crescent shape that looks very much like a croissant. The story goes that Vienna’s bakers stayed up very late and heard ottomans travelling beneath their city, gave the alarm to Christian authorities and created croissants to celebrate. This was done in honour of the crescent shape on their flag.
The French Croissant
The French version of the story, and a more romantic one at that, goes that we have Marie Antoinette to thank for the croissant. Upon arriving to France when she was just 15 years old, she missed Austria’s kipferls so much that she would sneak away to eat the sweets of her country while not attending royal dinners. These kipferls, are what is rumoured to have been the croissants that she brought into fame and popularity. This pastry was actually only eaten by high-society.
The First Croissant Recipe Ever to be Printed
The very first croissant recipe ever to have been printed was in 1905, when Joseph Favre’s book “Dictionnaire Universel de Cuisine” was published. This croissant recipe wasn’t a very classic one as it included sugar and almond powder. The following year, a much more classic croissant recipe came to light in print and Charles Dickens was even known to have mentioned it by saying “the dainty croissant on the boudoir table” in “All the Year Round”.
Why Are Croissants So, So Delicious?
But what makes croissants so delicate, fragrant and delicious? The secret is butter, and always butter. A good croissant is made using high-quality, very high-fat butter. That’s what gives croissants their golden colour, their crispiness, and most importantly, the flakiness that we all know and love.
Just check out our butter croissant!
What makes a good croissant? Here are 5 signs to look out for:
- Puffiness: A perfect croissant will be incredibly puffy, resulting from expertly folded dough and many, many layers as a result.
- Lots of butter: The perfect croissant will have lots of high-quality, high-fat butter. This helps its flavour, crispiness, flakiness and colour.
- Crumbling: A good croissant will result in many fine, flaky crumbs from its flakiness, lightness and delicacy.
- Many layers: Lots of layers and holes are a sign of the perfect croissant. These layers take a very long time to be created by the chef with repeated folding over and over again.
- Crunchy shell: The exterior of the croissant will be deliciously crunchy, crispy and delicate, falling apart upon biting into it.
How Are They Best Enjoyed?
Croissants are best enjoyed simple and on their own without any butter, jam or other toppings. In North America, it has become quite common to see croissants sliced in half and filled with traditional sandwich fillings like cheese, ham and lettuce. This is a fantastically delicious way to enjoy your croissants. We also wouldn’t mind some butter, jam or Nutella! If you were to go to a classic French bakery, however, you would be advised to enjoy your croissant as it is, with a cup of coffee or tea on the side, at most.
Want to try Bisou’s croissants? We bake them fresh, in small batches, every single day at our French Bakery. We would be thrilled for you to try, just drop by to enjoy with a fresh cup of steaming hot coffee on a cold, rainy day!