Frissant: A hybrid pastry invented and named by Swiss Bakery (“artisan bread specialist”) in Vancouver, British Columbia. Frissant is a portmanteau of fritter (a small cake that’s sautéed or deep-fried) and croissant (a buttery, crescent-shaped baked pastry).
Frissant photo from SwissBakery.ca: “Frissant is Canada’s cronut on the map! No lineups, no scalping. Just come on in!”
Frissants are the latest invention to capitalize on the modified-doughnut frenzy that began in May with the introduction of the cronut—a fried, cream-filled doughnut made of flaky croissant dough—at the eponymous Manhattan bakery of Dominique Ansel. Ansel—who has filed for trademark protection of “cronut”—makes just 300 cronuts a day, and they sell out quickly at $5 each. As Ben Zimmer pointed out in his Boston Globe “The Word” column and in the Visual Thesaurus, early copycats such as doissant and dossant have lacked the lexical punch, and the publicity bonanza, of “cronut.”
“Cronut” has also benefited from its New York City origins (if you can make it there…). “Frissant” may be doomed to provincial obscurity, but I for one applaud the cleverness of the coinage. Not only does it maintain the Frenchiness of “croissant,” but it also suggests frisson – a thrill, a shiver of excitement – a delectable French word imported into English in the 18th century.
For more on the cronut craze, see “Crazy for Cronuts: Picking Apart the Tasty Trend,” which aired Saturday on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” For more food portmanteaus, see my posts on turducken, veggieducken, cherpumple, mockolate, and Edward Gelsthorpe, coiner of Cran-Apple and Manwich.