Paris chef engineers less flaky croissant, invokes ancient pastry curse

·2 min read
Pile of traditional croissants
Pile of traditional croissants

You wouldn’t ask water to be less wet. You wouldn’t ask a duckling to be less fluffy. So why, then, would you mess with perfection and engineer a croissant to be less flaky? I don’t know; then again, I’m just a pitiful American planning on eating a Lean Cuisine frozen pizza for lunch. My culinary prowess is nothing next to Ritz Paris pastry chef François Perret, who has re-engineered the classic croissant to be “more practical to eat.”

Vivian Song (who is also a Takeout contributor) interviewed Perret for the luxury publication The Robb Report. He explained that his reinvention is part of a larger project at the Ritz Paris hotel that includes the opening of a new gourmet pastry shop “in an attempt to modernize dessert culture in Paris.” To Perret, modernization involves an oblong, cigar-like croissant that looks almost like... a churro? Perret said he developed the idea during the initial pandemic lockdown in Paris, when he “quickly realized what many a French office worker learns early in their desk life: ‘There were crumbs everywhere, on the keyboard, on me. It was carnage. I said to myself, “there has to be an easier way to eat this.”’”

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Enter the “more portable version of the croissant,” which was also designed to reduce “crumb wastage.” Of course, that means a slightly denser texture, to which I say: that’s not a croissant, my guy! That’s a Pepperidge Farm Pirouette Crème-Filled Wafer! Regardless, Perret also argues that the new pastry will be more conducive to strolling the streets of Paris—but I don’t know that I really want to eat a croissant while strolling. If I want to stroll, I’ll grab le McMuffin. Croissants are for sitting, savoring, and making just a bit of a mess. But I’ll keep my opinions to myself from this point forward. I am just a foolish American.