What Makes The Hybrid Crioche Pastry Unique

Every once in a while, a chef will innovate food that takes the culinary world by storm. The crioche, a mashup of two classic pastries — the brioche and the croissant — is a primary example. 

La Cucina Italiana attributes the crioche to Italian pastry chef Marco Pedron, while Broadsheet claims the pastry could have been invented by French chef Yves Scherrer. Either way, you'll find that the crioche has become a favorite all over the world. 

From chef Carlo Cracco's multi-story Ristorante Cracco in Milan, Italy to Badolina Bakery & Cafe in Houston, Texas, you can find it on many pastry menus. So what makes the crioche so popular and unique from a brioche or croissant?

Bee Chef Pastry School states that brioche is a traditional French bread that pays homage to Normandy, with its first appearance in a 1404 recipe book. It's known for its heavy portion of butter and eggs, providing its fluff and softness. And while croissants are known for using copious amounts of butter, the classic croissant recipe doesn't include eggs. With this in mind, the crioche comes with a caveat that makes it special.

The crioche is a customizable pastry that uses eggs in the recipe

As Chef Pedron tells La Cucina Italiana, "It's neither a croissant nor a brioche. It's a crioche because before the dough is folded with butter, it's made with butter and egg yolk." Pedron's recipe combines brioche-style dough with the spiral shape and delicate lamination techniques of a traditional croissant.

Both brioche and croissants can be time-consuming and tricky to perfect, and the crioche is no different. The process takes over 12 hours — though 10 of those are spent resting the dough. For added flavor, Chef Pedron incorporates vanilla beans, honey, zest from an orange, and sugar syrup to give the delicate treat a bit of sweetness and complexity. 

While Pedron's crioches have a distinct shape of being rolled with one flat side — others experiment with different interpretations, proving that the crioche can be a versatile treat. At Madame and Yves, Yves Scherrer's crioche has a loaf structure with delicate layers stacked together, per BroadSheet. Maison Daniel in San Francisco, California adds ham and cheese to theirs (via Merci SF), while Maker+Baker in Sussex, England, rolls their pastries in cinnamon and sugar for a sweet taste and crunchy texture.

If you're up for a baking challenge at home, try out Pedron's recipe (via La Cucina Italia). Or be sure to add the crioche to your list to try when visiting your next pâtisserie or bakery!