Saturday, April 19, 2008
say "khwa-so" (croissant)
while flying from mumbai to kolkata last friday by an early morning flight, i discovered something about this delicious puff pastry that i had not known before.i love croissants.and it used to be my morning breakfast with coffee during my frequent trips to the midlands in england many years ago.and i have always pronounced it as croi-ssan.i got a bit of education on the low-cost airliner "indigo" when i asked for a vegetarian breakfast.these airliners don't provide you with free refreshments.you have got to buy them.i decided to try a croissant with paneer and mirchi in it. i liked the taste and just two croissants was what the doctor ordered.the croissants came nicely packed with the package containing useful information about the origin of croissant and how it is mistakenly pronounced and what is the right pronunciation.
i had thought that the croissant is a french invention.totally wrong.a courageous and watchful baker in budapest,hungary while working one night in 1686 heard rumbling noises and immediately informed the city's military.the turks were planning a secret attack by tunnelling under the city's walls.the tunnel was demolished and overnight the baker became a hero.when asked what he wanted as reward,the modest baker requested for the sole right to make a special pastry commemorating the incident.he shaped the pastry like a crescent to mock the turkish flag.implied meaning was the the hungarians had eaten the turks for lunch!
as far as the correct pronunciation is concerned,i must admit it is tricky.say it like "khwa-so" with a nasal "o" at the end.indigo made it simpler by providing a how-to-pronounce- guide in different languages.
"leavened variant of puff pastry by layering yeast dough with butter and rolling a few times in succession,then rolling and rolling",croissant, is not easy to make by any stretch of imagination and neither can it be made fast. a competitor to the american doughnuts, croissant is high in calories and fat. the french will swear by their "pain au chocolat", a croissant pastry wrapped around almond paste or chocolate before it is baked. i would love to have it too.