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Croissant Reconnaissance

Our search for Denver’s finest French croissants.

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Make a study of French croissants, and you’ll find there’s tremendous variation among the flaky pastries. Some are fat and bready, others small and crumbly; still others are stuffed with all manner of ingredients, including fruit preserves, ham and cheese, or almond paste. Almost all make delicious treats, but which approach represents the quintessential croissant? • Claudine Pépin, celebrity instructor at Food University, daughter of legendary French chef Jacques Pépin, and former Denver resident, says the perfect croissant is all about butter—lots of it spread between layer after thin layer of pastry dough that’s folded and refolded countless times. When done right, she says, croissants should shatter when you bite into them (providing evidence of all those buttered layers), and the interior should remain moist and tender. And filling? Forget it. Purists don’t want anything interfering with the buttery richness. • Armed with this insight, we sought out the city’s best French bakeries and uncovered six spots for seriously good croissants.

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