It is the symbol of the French breakfast, but the delicious croissant has a more complex history than we know. What are the secrets behind its preparation, where in Paris you really need to try it on and what is its traditional recipes see below. Here are ten things you need to know about the croissant:
1. French, but not so much
It is a symbol of French breakfast, but the croissant actually comes from the 13th century Austria. Croissant appears for the first time mentioned in a French cookbook in 1891.
2. Butter makes the difference
The main ingredient that makes the difference is unsalted butter. It gives flavor and consistency to the croissant.
3. A national treasure
Together with the baton, the croissant is a product that never misses on French tables. It is a national product since 1920.
4. The crescent shape
There are many explanations for the shape of croissants and one of them is as follows: in 1683, trying to attack Vienna, the Turks dug a tunnel under the city walls in order to enter unseen. A pastry chef working late heard noises and alerted the Austrian army. To celebrate the moment, he created the Kipferl pastry, a pastry with a crescent shape, reminding of the emblem of the Ottoman Empire, thus symbolizing the devouring Turks by the Austrians.
5. Jam at home
In France, the croissant is bought simple and filled with jam at home. In some countries however, such as Italy, they are sold in stores already filled. In Germany, Nutella is the most popular choice.
6. Kipferl and Queen Marie Antoinette
The croissant is said to have appeared in France with Queen Marie Antoinette, who described to the royal pastry chefs one of her favorite desserts, Kipferl, and ordered them to prepare it. The new recipe enjoyed a huge success in France and became part of French cuisine. This version, however, is rejected by some critics.
The best croissants in Paris are found at Pierre Herme, Bonaparte Street, in the left bank of the Seine. This legendary pastry shop is ranked 1st in the “best croissants in Paris” top made in 2009 by Le Figaro. The store offers not only simple croissants with butter (1.70 euros), but also a special croissant called “Isfahan” with rose aroma (2.10 euros). But very good croissants are found at Laduree, the most famous teahouse in Paris, known especially for some exceptional macarons.
8. Marie Antoinette: Let them eat croissants
It is said that the Queen of the French Revolution, known for the famous saying “let them eat cake” actually said “let them eat croissants” when the French were outraged that they didn’t even had bread on the table.
9. The perfect meal
Croissants should always be made with unbleached flour, which allows them to have that specific. Cream color.
Tiny shops, craft, selling pastries in France, are called Viennoiserie and are specialized in pain au chocolat, muffins and other sweets Austrian which became symbols of French cuisine.
In the end, we are leaving you with a croissant recipe to try at home.
- 115 ml warm milk
- 30 ml warm water
- 1 egg
- 325 gr flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- 200 g butter at room temperature
- 7.5 g dry yeast
- for anointing croissants: 1 egg and 1 tablespoon of milk
Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius. Place in a bowl the egg, 30 g butter, flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Stir using a wooden spoon and incorporate milk and water, pouring little by little. Mix well until it forms an elastic dough. Cover and set aside until doubled in size. Place dough on a surface dusted with flour and knead until it becomes elastic. Put back in bowl, cover and leave in the fridge for an hour. Put back on surface dusted with flour and spread a sheet of 50 x 20 cm.
Separate the remaining butter into three portions. Using a serving of butter, spread in small piles on two thirds of the surface of the dough, leaving the bottom free and 1 ½ cm before the edge. Fold the dough in three, wrap the bottom first, no butter, then fold the top over. Seal the edges and press the dough, allow ten minutes to sit in the refrigerator then roll it again with the second part of butter following the steps above, and stretches the sheet and put the last part of the butter over the dough in clumps (following the same steps) and leave for 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
Remove from the refrigerator and spread the dough in a sheet of 50 x 30 cm, cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise into several chunk. Each piece is cut diagonally resulted to get two triangles. Take each triangle, rub with a mixture of beaten egg with a tablespoon of milk, then roll from the biggest side of the triangle, creating a crescent shape. Brush top with egg and milk. Place baking paper in a tray, add croissants and leave to rise between 30 minutes to 1 hour, then bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until golden.