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A croissant is a buttery flaky pastry, named for its distinctive crescent shape. Croissant are made of a leavened variant of puff pastry. The yeast dough is layered with butter, rolled and folded several times in succession, then rolled into a sheet, a technique called laminating.

Left: A croissant.

Crescent-shaped breads have been made since the Middle Ages, and crescent-shaped cakes (imitating the often-worshiped Moon) possibly since classical times.

Making croissant by hand requires skill and patience; a batch of croissant can take several days to complete. However, the development of factory-made, frozen, pre-formed but unbaked dough has made them into a fast food which can be freshly baked by unskilled labor. This innovation, along with the croissant's versatility and distinctive shape, has made it the best-known type of French pastry in much of the world.


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