There’s nothing better than waking up to a crisp, golden croissant, that melts in your mouth as you sip your morning tea or coffee or any other hot drink…
The croissant is often considered to be a quintessential part of the French breakfast. And while it is true that we owe the current version of the croissant made with leavened puff pastry to French bakers, it has quite a different origin.
We have to go back in time to the night of the 11th and 12th September 1683.
When the Viennese bakers were working in their ovens before dawn, they spotted the Turkish troops advancing in readiness to attack the city. They sounded the alert in time. Throughout the day the battle of Kahlenberg raged. Long and bitter, it was eventually won by the Austrians, bringing an end to the Ottoman army’s second siege of the city of Vienna.
No doubt you are wondering what that has to do with our croissant? Well, once Vienna was liberated, it is said that the Viennese bakers invented a pastry called the Hörnchen (little horn in German, in the shape of the Ottoman flag).
It is also said that a Viennese cafe owner used the coffee left behind by the Turks and served it together with a pastry in the shape of a croissant. Whatever the truth, over time the recipe for Hörnchen spread far and wide.
On opening their Viennese bakery in Paris, two Austrians imported their recipes and sold the first croissants to the Parisians between 1837 and 1839. The croissant was originally made with a brioche dough. Many French bakers copied it and were inspired to create their own viennoiseries.
The puff pastry with butter that we know today, appeared in France at the end of the 19th century. It became extremely popular from 1920 onwards.
Today, the croissant is the uncontested star of any tasty continental breakfast. The pain au chocolat is made with the same dough as the croissant, by adding one or two squares of chocolate.
Succumb to temptation and… Bon appétit !
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