Kouign Amann, pronounced something like Queen Amarn, is a pastry that I had never heard of, until it appeared as a challenge on The Great British Bake-Off. So I had to investigate, and found that it is similar in texture to a croissant. The recipe I followed is from Paul Hollywood, on BBC Food website. It is quite a convoluted recipe, but quite easy to follow.
I have since found other recipes that do things a little differently from this one, for instance using soft butter and mixing sugar with it, before forming into a pat and refrigerating. Some French versions seem to have a large, round confection, rather than the individual ones here.
But, having taken mine out of the oven they certainly look fine on the outside. I hope they are flaky inside too. Take note of the recipe instruction about covering with silver foil if the colour seems to be getting too much. You can see from mine that some extremities are rather too dark, but I am sure they will taste just fine.
I also think other recipes are more liberal with the sugar than I was. But having now tasted mine I must say they are simply wonderful. The family enjoyed them very much too, in fact there is no chance of them going stale, as there are only 3, of the 12 originally made, left now.
- 300g/10½oz strong plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 5g fast-action yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 200ml/7fl oz warm water
- 25g/1oz unsalted butter, melted
- 250g/9oz cold unsalted butter, in a block
- 100g/3½oz caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
- Put the flour into the bowl of a freestanding mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add the yeast to one side of the bowl and the salt to the other. Add the water and melted butter and mix on a slow speed for two minutes, then on a medium speed for six minutes.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and shape into a ball. Put into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with cling film and leave to rise for one hour.
- Sandwich the butter between two sheets of greaseproof paper and bash with a rolling pin, then roll out to a 14cm/5½in square. Place in the fridge to keep chilled.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 20cm/8in square. Place the butter in the centre of the dough diagonally, so that each side of butter faces a corner of the dough. Fold the corners of the dough over the butter to enclose like an envelope.
- Roll the dough into a 45x15cm/18x6in rectangle. Fold the bottom third of dough up over the middle, then fold the top third of the dough over. You will now have a sandwich of three layers of butter and three layers of dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. This completes one turn.
- Repeat this process twice more, so you have completed a total of three turns, chilling the dough for 30 minutes between turns.
- Roll the dough into a rectangle as before. Sprinkle the dough with the caster sugar and fold into thirds again. Working quickly, roll the dough into a large 40x30cm/16x12in rectangle. Sprinkle the dough with caster sugar and cut the dough into 12 squares.
- Grease a 12-cup muffin tin well with oil. Gather the dough squares up by their four corners and place in the muffin tins, pulling the four corners towards the centre of the muffin tin, so that it gathers up like a four-leaf clover. Sprinkle with caster sugar and leave to rise, covered with a clean tea towel, for 30 minutes until slightly puffed up.
- Preheat oven to 220C/200C(fan)/425F/Gas 7. Bake the pastries for 30-40 minutes, or until golden-brown. Cover with foil halfway through if beginning to brown too much. Remove from the oven and leave to cool for a couple of minutes before turning out onto a wire rack. Be careful not to burn yourself on the caramelised sugar, but don’t leave them to cool for too long, or the caramelised sugar will harden and they will be stuck in the tin.
- Serve warm or cold.