(Image by Olia Gozha on Unsplash)
The traditional croissant is a fluffy butter pastry, rolled and twisted into its iconic shape. Named after the The French word for crescent, the croissant is recognised all over world. It is breakfast buffet essential in every major city- served with jam and coffee in Paris, accompanying condensed milk iced coffee in Hanoi, or served with salmon and cream cheese in Toronto. It represents the ultimate challenge for any aspiring pastry chef. The croissant is notoriously difficult to master, as the chef works to produce something that is both intensely buttery and light and ethereal.
Some of the world’s very best chefs, having conquered the croissant, have taken the classic viennoiserie pastry and tweaked into something new and exciting. Any baked goods fan will be familiar with the cronut– a doughnut shaped croissant creation packed full of flavoured crémes and brightly coloured glazes. Created by New York City pastry chef Dominique Ansel of Dominique Ansel Bakery, other chefs have also created the cronut, the cruffin and the Croissan’wich (why, world?).
Pioneer of geometric patisserie, Swedish chef and 4 times World Pastry Chef Champion, Bedros Kabranian, has been experimenting with laminated dough for a few years. His creations are more classically flavoured with an emphasis on technique and accuracy.
Now, a bakery in San Francisco, Baker Doe has unleashed on the world the croissant cube filled with wacky Asian inspired flavours. Run by two self taught pastry chefs who maintain complete anonymity, (in a cheeky rebuff to the high glamour of award winning pastry competitions), the bakery is also the home of the purple croissant and the “tricolor” – a croissant in red, white and blue for the French flag.
The cube croissant is a masterpiece of engineering, but maybe it’s the kind of engineering that the pastry didn’t really need. The yeasted dough has been harnessed into a perfect geometric shape that is mesmerising, but it also a little disconcerting, a straight laced version of the free spirited original croissant.
Some are capped with coloured chocolate plaques, giving the square shape a striking definition that is almost surreal. We are hoping to see some more wacky interpretations of croissants right here in SA, as our chefs tackle the traditional delicacy with a South African spirit. Amarula croissant with candied baobab fruit, anyone?