There’s nothing quite like the unique flavor and texture of a fresh, perfectly made croissant.
Layers of flaky, light pastry literally melt in your mouth with each buttery bite. And speaking of butter, did you know that croissants are more than forty percent butter by weight!
Is it any wonder they’re so very delicious?
That delicate exterior and interior of swirled pastry air are perfect on their own or with a bit of jam or for making a hearty breakfast sandwich, there’s really no limit to how this famous pastry can be used.
But the world of croissants extends far beyond their birthplace in Europe. From the time of their introduction, croissants have been universally loved, so it’s understandable that the reach of this delicate pastry would extend to all corners of the globe.
We’ll take a look at this pastry’s reach and all the different ways it’s enjoyed all across the world.
Types of Croissants
Although there are some subtle variations from one country to the next, the heart of the recipe persists as does the affection for it.
Argentinian Croissants (Medialunas Argentinas or Medialunas)
In the country of Argentina, a variation of the croissant known as “medialunas” (or translated to mean “half moon”) pastry is very popular and quite similar to its European cousin.
After the croissant made its arrival in Argentina, it didn’t take long for it to become the most commonly eaten pastry in the nation. But as with many foods that cross borders, the Argentinians adapted the original croissant slightly.
While the familiar crescent shape remains, medialunas differ from croissants in that the dough used to make it includes lemon zest which gives it a light and refreshing taste on the palate.
|Medialunas Argentinas||A popular pastry in Argentina, similar to the European croissant.||Argentina||Includes lemon zest in dough, giving it a refreshing taste.|
Austrian Croissants (Kipferl)
Believed by most food historians to be the ancestor of the modern croissant, the kipferl began as a crescent-shaped cookie and is still sold that way today.
However, during the mid-1800s an Austrian entrepreneur named August Zang opened a bakery and began offering a different version of this traditional food by using brioche dough and cooking it in a steam oven.
The result was a completely new kind of pastry that was much lighter and flakier than its predecessors. From here, we see what would soon become the birth of the modern croissant.
|Kipferl||Traditional crescent-shaped cookie, believed to be ancestor of the modern croissant||Austria||Available in both cookie and pastry form||Developed into a lighter, flakier pastry using brioche dough and steam oven by an Austrian entrepreneur in the mid-1800s|
Although not created by the French, today the croissant is almost exclusively considered a French creation. The French built upon the creation of August Zang by altering the dough and preparation methods he used in his kipferl adaption.
Specifically, brioche was replaced with the use of a yeast-leavened, rolled puff pasty that is laminated with butter.
Early records of this approach date back to the turn of the 20th century and to this day, this method remains at the heart of the French croissant, giving it the trademark flakiness and buttery taste that is beloved around the world.
|French Croissant||A yeast-leavened, laminated puff pastry with butter, considered a French creation.||France||Replaced brioche dough with yeast-leavened dough and butter, trademark flakiness and buttery taste.||Developed by French bakeries in the early 20th century|
Types of Croissants in France
As home to the modern-day version of the croissant, perhaps no other country has more options for the types of croissants they offer than France. While selections can vary by region, the most popular ones are listed below.
|Almond Paste||Croissants à la Pâte d’Amande|
|Apricot-Filled||Croissants Farcis Aux Abricots|
|Butter||Croissants au beurre|
|Cheese-Filled||Croissants Farcis Au Fromage|
|Dulce de Leche||Croissants Dulce de Leche|
|Chocolate-Filled||Croissants fourrés au chocolat|
|Ham-Filled||Croissants Au Jambon|
|Salmon-Filled||Croissants Farcis Au Saumon|
Polish Croissants (St. Martin’s Croissant or Rogale Marcińskie)
The country of Poland is serious about their croissants! So much so that the recipe for its beloved version of this pastry is actually protected by law.
The creation of the St. Martin’s Croissant dates back to the late 1800s. It was there that a priest took to heart a sermon he heard at the St. Martin church and created a croissant to aid the hungry.
From that point forward, the St. Martin’s Croissant has become a treasured symbol of generosity in Poland such that the same town in which the croissant was born holds a festival and distributes nearly 750,000 of them!
But it’s the recipe itself that must adhere to strict standards in order to be considered an authentic St. Martin’s Croissant. The croissant features 81 individual layers and thirty minutes must elapse between the addition of each additional layer.
Besides the dough, the ingredients used include raisins, orange peel, poppy seeds, walnuts and a decadent glaze. The final qualifier for “legal status” is the weight of the croissant – it must weigh no less than 150 grams and not more than 250 grams.
|Name||Description||Origin||Historical Evolution||Special recipe||Ingredients||Qualifiers|
|St. Martin’s Croissant||A treasured symbol of generosity in Poland, protected by law.||Poland||Created in the late 1800s by a priest to aid the hungry.||81 individual layers, 30 minutes between each additional layer||Raisins, orange peel, poppy seeds, walnuts, decadent glaze||Must weigh between 150-250 grams to be considered authentic.|
Although similar in shape to a traditional croissant, the Portuguese croissant is not the same as its European counterpart. Portuguese croissant dough produces a pastry with a texture like brioche, even though croissants and brioche are different baked goods.
Although it’s not brioche, this gives the croissant a heavier texture and because of this, you’re just as likely to find variations that are filled. Popular Portuguese croissant flavors include chocolate, cream and ham with cheese. Locally these are known as “com chocolate”, “com creme” and “mistro”, respectively.
|Name||Description||Origin||Variation||Texture||Popular Filling||Local Names|
|Portuguese Croissant||A variation of traditional croissant, with a texture like brioche.||Portugal||Often filled with different flavors||Heavier than traditional croissant||Chocolate, cream and ham with cheese||“com chocolate”, “com creme” and “mistro”|
Romanian croissants are prepared with a brioche-like dough and may either be served plain or filled with plum jam which is known as magiun in Romania. Visually they somewhat resemble the traditional shape of a croissant, but the use of a heavier dough makes them denser, thicker and more filling.
|Name||Description||Origin||Variation||Dough Type||Popular Filling|
|Romanian Croissant||Romanian croissant that resembles the traditional shape of a croissant, but prepared with a brioche-like dough making it denser, thicker and more filling.||Romania||May be served plain or filled with plum jam (magiun)||Brioche-like||Plum jam (magiun)|
Turkish Croissants (Turkish Crescent Roll or Ay Coregi)
While the Turkish version of croissants slightly resembles the original, the similarity between them ends at appearances. They are more closely related to muffins and in fact it is customary to make them from stale cake before filling them with cinnamon, walnuts, hazelnuts and raisins.
|Name||Description||Origin||Variation||Dough Type||Popular Filling|
|Turkish Crescent Roll||A variation of croissants which closely resembles muffins, made from stale cake and filled with cinnamon, walnuts, hazelnuts and raisins.||Turkey||Turkish version of croissants||Stale cake||Cinnamon, walnuts, hazelnuts, raisins|
Uruguayan Croissant (Bizcocho)
In the country of Uruguay, croissants are known as bizcocho. Bizcocho is a Spanish term used as a catchall for pastries, cookies and cakes.
Popular sweet versions in Uruguay can be filled with chocolate, dulce de leche or pastry cream while savory options are usually filled with a combination of cheese and ham or cheese and salami.
|Bizcocho||A variation of croissant known as Bizcocho in Uruguay, which can be filled with sweet or savory options.||Uruguay||Spanish term used as a catchall for pastries, cookies and cakes||Chocolate, dulce de leche, pastry cream, cheese and ham, cheese and salami|
Hi, I’m Jenny. I have many interests and, some would say, eclectic passions. A few words that best describe me? Hmm, well… Amateur surfer, professional traveler, food lover and writer extraordinaire. Oh, and lover of all furry, four-legged creatures!