If I had to verbally read you this post title, my stomach would tighten and my vocal chords would tense. How would I pronounce it to you? Juliet Lapidos nails my fear in her article How to order a croissant:
If you attempt the proper French pronunciation, krwa-san, and succeed, you’ll seem snobby. If you trip over the guttural R, as so many non-native speakers do, you’ll seem pseudointellectual.
If you go for the namby-pamby middle ground, kwa-san, replacing the guttural R with a W, you’ll sound terrible… and namby-pamby.
You could avoid these dangers by pronouncing the word in a straightforward American accident: kruh-sant. But then you’ll quite possibly become the victim rather than the perpetrator of snobbery. Recently I requested a kruh-sant and the server raised an eyebrow. “You mean a krwa-san?” he asked.
Exactly. It’s the same problem I face every single time I’m working on the till at the coffee shop. We have a precarious pile of flakey croissants (plain croissants, almond croissants and pain au chocolates) right next to the till. The pile sits in a way so that if there’s a queue, and you look down the line to take an order, the croissants form a buttery barrier between you and the next customer. There’s no way around, but for each customer to make direct eye contact with the perfectly golden viennoiserie when they order coffee. Tempting!
A few times each morning, we’ll get a customer that will wave a hand towards the pile, saying “I’ll take one of those”. And when they say “one of those”, my heart drops. The follow-up question I have to ask is going to be a bad no matter how I do it.
“Would you like a plain or almond Krwa-san?”
Lately, I’ve just been responding — you mean one of “those” or “those”? And we can go through the entire transaction without even mentioning the dreaded “croissant”.
One of the perks of working at the coffee shop is the leftover croissants at the end of the day. These toasted croissant sandwiches with Gruyère and apricot jam are a perfect way to use up day old croissants. And if you have a lot of leftover croissants, you can also make them into grilled croissants (a la planche) served with maple syrup!
Croissant Sandwich with Guyere and Apricot Jam
- 1 croissant
- 2 ounces Gruyère cheese - sliced
- 1 spoonful apricot jam
- 1 handful arugula (rocket)
- 1 tablespoon butter - for grilling, if using a skillet or grill pan on the stove
- cherry tomatoes - for serving
Heat a skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat, or preheat a panini grill.
Using a serrated knife, slice open the croissant in half lengthwise.
Layer the cheese across the bottom half. Spread apricot jam over the cheese. Top with a handful of rocket. Close the croissant.
If using a skillet or grill pan on the stove, melt butter and place the croissant on the skillet or grill pan for about 3 minutes on each side, until the croissant is crisp and the cheese is melted. You can press down on the croissant to flatten it. If using a panini grill, set the croissant in the grill and close the lid to cook for about 3 minutes, until the croissant is crisp and the cheese is melted.
Serve immediately with cherry tomatoes.