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Julie Van Rosendaal/The Globe and Mail

A well-made croissant is arguably the perfect pastry. Though we often see exemplary pastries overseas, we have some of the best croissants in the world here in Canada, too.

“If you go to a renowned local bakery, you can find amazing croissants that have the same quality as croissants in France,” says Saïd M’Dahoma, a neuroscientist turned pastry chef who was born and raised in Paris and now lives in Calgary. (Some of his favourites are from Mari Bakeshop in Calgary and Le Génie in Toronto.)

Beyond traditional butter croissants and those stuffed with almond paste or dark chocolate, the laminated dough that gives croissants their unique texture has inspired mash-ups of all kinds, including French chef Dominique Ansel’s trademarked Cronuts, cruffins (croissant muffins), croissants baked in cube shapes and croissants rolled flat and toasted to resemble a large palmier.

“Right now there is a big trend on flat croissants, croissants filled with cream and crookies – baked croissants with cookie dough filling,” M’Dahoma says. Savoury croissants are also becoming more trendy, he adds, in the form of sandwiches, sliced open and filled with whipped cheeses and pastry wrapped pain au chocolat-style around fillings such as spinach, mushrooms or bulgogi beef before baking.

Flat croissants are made by rolling day-old pastries flat, then frying in a skillet until golden with crispy edges. Top them as you might top toast, or sweeten and eat like crunchy cinnamon-sugar toast or cookies. Crookies are baked croissants sliced open and stuffed with cookie dough, then baked with more dough spread over top. Croissant biscotti are days-old croissants frozen, thinly sliced and baked biscotti-style, then dipped in chocolate for a shatteringly delicious accessory to your morning coffee.

For those who appreciate the simple perfection of a plain croissant, learning to make them from scratch is an effort worth undertaking. M’Dahoma offers online classes that will teach you everything you need to know from ingredients to technique, and he also shares baking tips on Instagram @thepastrynerd. He advises keeping the dough cold at all times, and seeking out good-quality European-style butter with butterfat of about 84 per cent to make it easier to work with.

If you’d rather skip the rolling and folding, there are plenty of ways to dress up a package of baked grocery-store croissants. To make rolled croissants, simply roll day-old store-bought croissants flat, add a drizzle of oil or butter for extra crispness and toast in a hot skillet, weighted down with another skillet. Use as a base for toast toppings, or make them sweet by drizzling with syrup and sprinkling with coarse sugar as you flip them in the pan, cooking until golden with crisp edges. To make croissant biscotti, freeze baked croissants solid, then slice and spread them out on a baking sheet. Brush with coconut milk or cream and sprinkle with sugar, then bake at 325 F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until deep golden. Drizzle with or dip in melted chocolate.

Whipped Feta-stuffed Croissants

For these sandwich-like croissants, aim for a chunk of feta about the size of your thumb per pastry. The quantity of milk you’ll need will depend on the feta’s moisture level. You can also tuck quartered fresh or roasted cherry or grape tomatoes inside.

Store-bought croissants

Feta (cow, goat or plant-based)

Milk (dairy or unsweetened plant-based) or cream


Butter, for brushing

1 garlic clove, crushed

Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

If you like, warm your croissants in a 350 F oven or air fryer for about 10 minutes. This will revive them a bit if they’re stale and give them more colour if they’re on the pale side.

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse feta (a chunk about the size of your thumb per croissant) and a few chives with enough milk or cream to give it the texture of creamy frosting. Spoon into a Ziploc bag, snip off one corner, slice your croissants lengthwise and pipe in some filling. Alternately, pipe or spread the whipped feta over a flattened croissant that has been toasted in a skillet until crisp.

Melt butter (about a tablespoon per croissant) with garlic and some optional parsley or more chives, and brush over the croissants.

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