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A croissant
A ham and cheese croissant

A croissant (French pronunciation: [kʁwasɑ̃]  ( listen), anglicised variously as /krəˈsɑːnt/, /kwɑːˈsɑːn/, etc.) is a buttery flaky pastry, named for its distinctive crescent shape. It is also sometimes called a crescent[1] or crescent roll.[2] Croissants are made of a leavened variant of puff pastry. The yeast dough is layered with butter, rolled and folded several times in succession, then rolled into a sheet, a technique called laminating.

Crescent-shaped breads have been made since the Middle Ages, and crescent-shaped cakes (imitating the often-worshiped Moon) possibly since classical times.[3]

Croissants have long been a staple of French bakeries and patisseries. In the late 1970's, the development of factory-made, frozen, pre-formed but unbaked dough made them into a fast food which can be freshly baked by unskilled labor. Indeed, the croissanterie was explicitly a French response to American-style fast food,[4] and today 30-40% of the croissants sold in French bakeries and patisseries are frozen.[5]

This innovation, along with the croissant's versatility and distinctive shape, has made it the best-known type of French pastry in much of the world.

Contents

Variants

Lye croissants in Southern Germany

Croissant pastry 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 admit sweet or savoury fillings. In France and Spain, croissants are generally sold without filling and eaten without added butter, but sometimes with almond filling. In the United States, sweet fillings or toppings are common, and warm croissants may be filled with ham and cheese or feta cheese and spinach. In the Levant, croissants are sold plain or filled with chocolate, cheese, almonds, or zaatar. In Germany, croissants are sometimes filled with Nutella or persipan; in Southern Germany there also is a popular variety of a croissant glazed with lye ("Laugencroissant"). In Switzerland the croissant is typically called a Gipfeli which typically has a crisper crust and is less buttery than the French style croissant. In some Latin American countries, croissants are commonly served alongside coffee as a breakfast or merienda. These croissant are referred to as medialunas ("half moons") and are typically coated with a sweet glaze ("de manteca", made with butter). Another variant is a medialuna "de grasa" ("of lard"), which is not sweet.

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Italian Cornetto

A cousin of the croissant is the Italian cornetto. Though most often the two worlds are considered to be synonyms, that's not completely true: croissants, in their French version tend to be crispy and contain a lot of butter, whereas an Italian cornetto is usually softer. Furthermore, the "cornetto vuoto" (italian: "empty cornetto") is commonly sided by variants with filling, to find it with different fillings, which include "crema pasticcera", jam and chocolate cream. They come often covered with powder sugar.

Spread of the Croissant

Historically, the croissant was not commonplace in the UK. Although available in speciality places, it was only in the late 1980s that supermarkets started stocking them and then in the late 1990s with the growth of cafe culture did the croissant spread.[citation needed]

Croissant are also seen in former French colonies such as Morocco.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. crescent.
  2. ^ Williamson, Charles Norris. Rosemary: A Christmas Story. A. L. Burt. p. 43. "On a small table at her side a tray had been left, with the remains of dejeuner; a jug stained brown with streaks of coffee; a crumbled crescent roll..." 
  3. ^ "Qu'est-ce que la Bible? d'après la nouvelle philosophie allemande", translated by August Hermann Ewerbeck. 1850. p. 327. "Hebrew women, in the time of Jeremiah, made in honor of the pagan goddess Astarte (queen of heaven, queen of the moon) cakes, probably in the form of a crescent." 
  4. ^ "Croissant Vite", Time 8 September 1980 [1]
  5. ^ Bertrand Rothé, "Il est bon mon croissant (surgelé)", Bakchich Info, 11 March 2008 [2]

References

External links


Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also croissant

Contents

German

Pronunciation

  • IPA: [kro̯aˈzeː]

Etymology

From French croissant

Noun

Croissant n. (genitive Croissant or Croissants, plural Croissants)

  1. croissant

Synonyms


Simple English

and cheese croissant]]

The croissant is a type of bread. It is shaped like an crescent moon. It is usually a breakfast food. It is also called a crescent.[1] It can also be called a crescent roll, although a crescent roll may be smaller.[2] It is not a quick bread. It is made of a variant of puff pastry.

History

Breads shaped like crescents have been around since medieval times. Croissants used to be high-class food. Now they can be brought frozen which can be cooked with only a little work.

References

  1. Oxford English Dictionary, s.v. crescent.
  2. Williamson, Charles Norris. Rosemary: A Christmas Story. A. L. Burt. p. 43. "On a small table at her side a tray had been left, with the remains of dejeuner; a jug stained brown with streaks of coffee; a crumbled crescent roll..." 

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