Pastry

Is a Square Croissant Still a Croissant?

March  1, 2016

Last week, British grocery giant Tesco made the French scream "Mais, non!" by rejecting traditional curved croissants, announcing that they would sell straight ones instead.

The reasoning is hilariously practical. Buyer Harry Jones explained:

[It’s] easier to spread jam, or [a] preferred filling, on a straighter shape with a single sweeping motion. With the crescent-shaped croissants […] people can take up to three attempts to achieve perfect coverage, which increases the potential for accidents.

Um, okay. Except the word “croissant” literally translates to “crescent,” and I’m pretty sure centuries of French pastry chefs weren’t looking for a corporate intervention to make their product more user-friendly. But for all you out there struggling with your butter-knife skills, Tesco is here for you!

Which got me thinking: To what extent are baked goods defined by their structural integrity?

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Filled croissants are generally more square than crescent shaped. However my big gripe with industrial croissants is that they don't use butter. I could forgive the straight shape if they used real butter.”
— ChefJune
Comment

A pretzel without the twist is just a breadstick. The civilized world would likely unravel without different words for pie, tart, galette, and crostata. And while cupcakes, bite for bite, have a terrible frosting-to-cake ratio, layer that frosting in the middle and you might as well just make a whoopie pie. A cupcake by any other shape might taste as sweet… but would it still be a "cupcake"?

And while I do own a doughnut pan, I don’t really consider things I bake in it to be “doughnuts.” In my mind, it's more important that a doughnut is “fried” rather than round and with a hole in the middle. Doughnut-pan creations are just doughnut-shaped muffins—often tasty and cute, but doughnuts? Nope. And plenty of popular doughnut-shop orders aren’t perfectly ring-shaped (I see you, maple bars and apple fritters) but are still very much doughnuts.

So what do you think? Is this a crime against pastry, or a welcome upgrade? And which baked good would you make over if given the chance?

4 Comments

Smaug March 1, 2016
Of course not, just marketing- so much easier to sell something as a "croissant" than as a "puffy square thing".
 
Aileen March 1, 2016
The Germans will tell you that a pretzel without a twist is a Laugenstange. There's a whole category of pretzel-like (baked in lye) baked goods, as you can see in this humorous (and possibly NSFW) video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YSAqTdc-Y2g
 
Shelley M. March 1, 2016
Huh?? Square croissants have been around forever. In the Great Croissant Explosion of the '80's, all the filled ones, chocolate, cherrie, cheese, ham, etc., were all square.
 
ChefJune March 1, 2016
Filled croissants are generally more square than crescent shaped. However my big gripe with industrial croissants is that they don't use butter. I could forgive the straight shape if they used real butter.