Viennoiserie [vyen-wahz-REE] noun: French for "Viennese specialties." Baked pastries that use yeast, but that are also enriched with other ingredients. Examples include laminated dough products such as croissants, as well as brioche and danish.
Viennoiserie may originally come from Vienna, but examples of this style include some of the most iconic French baked goods. This style of baking also represents a halfway point between the baker at the boulangerie and the artisan of the pâtisserie — read on to hear how this is so, according to French cooking instructor Paule Caillat.
Paule told me that the baker's work is considered hot — the baker works with ovens and heat to create the perfect bread dough and crust. A boulangerie is considered somewhat rustic, compared to the finer arts of a pâtisserie, where the artisans work with cold materials. They work with cold dough, icing, fruit, and mousse to create finely arranged and beautiful confections.
The viennoiserie pastries are somewhere in between — not hot, and not cold, or a little of both. Viennoiserie, however, are mostly to be found in more rustic bakeries and at the boulangerie.
To my eyes, however, most of the viennoiserie pastries I saw in Paris looked quite refined! Such lovely chocolate croissants...
What is your own favorite example of viennoiserie?
(Image: Dana Velden)