In celebration of Bastille Day on July 14th, this article is dedicated to the fluffy, flaky, and oh-so-French pastry, the simple yet elegant croissant.
The croissant, which get's its name from its crescent shape, has become a popular pastry in the United States, especially in small coffee shops and cafes.
And, while in France the croissant would be served with a cup of cafe au lait and nothing else, here we often take the croissant and turn it into something new - stuffed with ham and cheese, eggs and bacon, or, at a more upscale cafe, brie and apple.
But let's get back to basics. When was the last time you ordered just a plain croissant with your morning coffee? When done right, croissants can be delicious, filling and inexpensive.
Finding the perfect croissant requires a combination of perfect textures: flaky and slightly crispy on the crust, but with a soft, warm, center. The flavor should be rich and buttery, without making the croissant too greasy.
Sounds simple enough, but you'd be surprised how disappointing a croissant can be.
So here are a few of my favorites in the neighborhood, that combine the flavors to make a perfect croissant.
5. Daily Press - 505 Franklin
The croissant here is ever so slightly sweet (that’s how I like it) with a moist, soft center and flaky (but still soft) crust. Definitely delicious, but quite expensive at $3.25 a pop. I’d rather go ahead and purchase one of their deluxe croissant sandwiches, which offer a tantalizing mix of ingredients.
4. Nero Doro - 395 Classon
While I couldn’t stop staring at the almond croissant here (literally caked with almonds and confectioners sugar) the plain croissant was very good as well. For $2.50 you get a huge croissant with a slightly dry, crusty, outside, and outrageously buttery, soft center.
3. Athom Cafe - 1096 Broadway
This croissant has the perfect proportions of flaky crispy crust to soft center. The flavor is more salty than sweet, perfect if you are in the mood for a savory item, and a steal at only $1.80. I also have to note this is the only French bakery on this list.
2. Cinnamon Girl - 277 Nostrand
Although the croissant here doesn't have that crispy crust, the sweet, buttery flavor beats all the other croissants I tasted. The center is so soft and delicate it disappears on your tongue like cotton candy. $2.25.
1. Bushbaby - 1197 Fulton
A while back I mentioned Bushbaby’s croissant sandwich as being one of the best in Bed-Stuy, and it is mainly because the croissant is just so good. It’s a bit too greasy, but that’s only because there is so much butter, which compensates for oily fingers. The crust comes of in large flakes, so prepare for a messy meal at only $1.50.