Pastry Week

Can I Have This Dance…or a Roll?

When I first heard about the next challenge, I thought they said Queen’s Alman.  I thought, “Wait, isn’t that an English country dance?”  Turns out they said ‘kouign amann’, a French caramelized-sugar buttery pastry.  This recipe looks like there’s a lot of butter and flour and folding to make puff pastry…which I kind of enjoy making. 😀

Like other bready things–start with flour, yeast, salt and water as well as a couple tablespoons of melted butter.

  • 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

Mix those together slowly for 2 minutes, then medium speed for 6 minutes.  It’ll be beautifully soft and stretchy.

Dump it out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a ball.

Put it in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film, and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour.

(This was the time I went to the dollar store to get more parchment paper–I had run out and knew that I was going to need some more, and let me tell ya, I’ve really discovered the joys of using this stuff!  You get 25 sq. ft for $1, which is cheaper than I’ve seen it anywhere else…so far.  I’m thinking about investing in reusable silicone baking sheets, which may be worthwhile in the long run, but I wonder how much of a pain in the butt they are to clean.)

  • 250g/9oz cold unsalted butter, in a block

This is 2 sticks plus a couple of tablespoons of butter.  Place butter between two sheets of parchment paper and bash with your wooden rolling pin into a 5″ square.  Wrap into the parchment paper and put in the fridge to chill.

After dough has raised for an hour, it’ll be a beautiful poofy ball.  Tip that out onto the floured surface.  Roll into a 20 cm square (which is much smaller than what I rolled out–aim for 8″ square).

Place your chilled butter in the middle of the dough, but at an angle (dough is square, butter is diamond).

Pull the triangles into the center to envelop (like an envelope) the butter.

Roll the thing out into a long rectangle–about 7″ wide and 22″ long.  Fold this into thirds…top third down over the middle, bottom third down over the middle.  Wrap in cling film and chill 30 minutes.  Repeat this two more times.

Meanwhile, prep the muffin tin–spray with oil and use strips of parchment paper in an X–these will help you pull the muffins out of the tin!  Genius…

  • 100g/3½oz caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling

After those three folds and chills, pull it out and roll it out again.  This time, take about 1/2 cup sugar and sprinkle on the dough.  Fold in thirds and roll out into a big rectangle.  I found this wasn’t easy given how slippery the sugar made things–I don’t know if I was supposed to beat the dough to infuse the sugar or what.

Anyway, roll it out to a 2:3 ratio rectangle (6″ x 9″ or whatever) and cut it into 12 equal pieces….squares. I rolled it into a square and cut out rectangles…it would have worked better the other way around.

Take the 4 corners of the squares and pinch them together in the middle and drop into the muffin tin.

Bake at 425 for 20 minutes.  Check after 15 minutes or so for burning…cover with foil if it’s starting to get too dark.  I didn’t do this, so they got a bit blackened on the tips.

Still tastes *amazing*!

Fluffy and soft in the middle…

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