So, you might have seen how I made an egg yolk-only version of my Cannelés. You can read that post: 'Bunghole Pastries' and a Little Culinary History. After that little adventure, I decided to make my favorite French pastry, Kouign Amann. That's one good thing about this shelter-in-place order to flatten the curve on the spread of the coronavirus; I have lots of time for baking.
The kouign amann pastry that hails from Brittany, France is pronounced "queen a-mahn." It's like a cross between a croissant and a palmier, with layers of buttery, flaky pastry on the inside, yet caramelized with ever-so-slightly-burnt sugar on the rim. I think I love it because of the texture. The flavor is whatever jam or jelly I happen to have on hand.
Ingredients makes 12
And, in this case, I had a jar of pomegranate jelly that one of Jake's co-workers made and gave to us. But I have made these with everything from apricot jam to lemon curd. Get creative or use what you have.
- 1 C water, room temperature
- 1 T active dry yeast
- 2-3/4 C flour, divided + more for sprinkling and rolling
- 1 t sea salt
- 1 C cold salted butter + more for greasing the pan
- 1/2 C organic granulated sugar + extra for sprinkling
- jam or jelly for filling
- Also needed: parchment paper, rolling pin
Cover the mixing bowl and let the dough rise until doubled in size, approximately one hour.
Once the dough has doubled, place it in the fridge to chill for at least an hour or as long as overnight. Pound each stick of butter into rectangle. Some people use a ruler and make it very precise. I am less-precise. Wrap the pounded butter in parchment and chill with the dough.
When you're ready, sprinkle a piece of parchment paper with flour and place dough on top. Roll the dough into a rectangle roughly 12"x 20". Remember, I'm less than precise, but it was around that size.
Remove one rectangle of butter from the fridge and lay it in the middle of the dough. Fold the corners of the dough in to form an envelope. It should look like this...
Using the rolling pin, roll it out to 12" x 20" again. Place the second rectangle of butter on the dough and make another envelope. Then roll it out to the 12" x 20" rectanble, but this time, fold one third of the dough over the other third, like folding a letter.
Now you have to turn the dough. Turning the dough, by rolling and folding, creates very thin layers of butter and dough. This recipe needs to be turned 4 times. If the butter pushes through a layer of dough, rub it with a little flour. If the butter seems to be melting, chill the dough between each turn. Keep the parchment, the rolling pin, and the surface of the pastry well-floured.
To turn: Rotate the package of dough and butter so that the narrower, open end is facing you, like the pages of a book. Roll the dough out to a rectangle and fold the top third down and the bottom third up, again like a letter. Rotate the dough 90 degrees so that the open end is again facing you. Repeat. Roll the dough out to a rectangle and fold the top third down and the bottom third up. That's 2 turns. Repeat two more times.
Place the dough in the fridge and let rest for 30 minutes. Rub the insides of a muffin tins with butter. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Cover the kouign amann loosely and let rise until slightly puffy while the oven heats.
Place the kouign amann in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 350°F. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Pastries are finished when the tops are deep golden and the tips look as if they might be just starting to burn.