When life shakes you down hard, cooking becomes iffy, at least for me. Being sick with the worst cold in 25 years didn’t make it any easier. From Brazil, apart from a very heavy heart, I brought a virus, one that clearly was a brand new acquaintance. I had to fight it from scratch from an immunological point of view. And my beloved was hit too. We were in horrible shape for a week. Anything you set yourself to do seems to demand a lot more energy. Simple tasks drain you. And a lot will go wrong. Like a tomatillo sauce, poured down the garbage disposal, much to my despair. Still puzzled by that one, as it was a recipe from a very reputable source. Only possible explanation, I grabbed a mutant jalapeno pepper with off-the-chart capsaicin levels. Trust me on that one. I love pepper, being the Daughter of my Dad. That thing could scare all three dragons from the Game of Thrones into hiding. Liquid lava. But, after that fiasco, I decided to grab the bull by the horn and go for the kill. I would make something more involved than dumping things in a blender. I would make a concoction that has been sitting on my list of culinary goals for a long time. I would tackle Kouign-Amann.
OVERVIEW OF THE RECIPE
(from Sugar Rush, a great cookbook!)
First you make a simple dough from flour, a little yeast, salt, and a little butter. That goes into the fridge to rest from a couple of hours to overnight. You will also make a slab of butter with a precise dimension and cool it until firm.
Then, the dough is rolled out, the cold layer of butter placed on one side, and the dough folded in the usual puff pastry making technique. A few differences, though: only four folds are needed. Sugar gets sprinkled over the dough before each fold. No lengthy refrigeration between folds, because you do not want the sugar to melt into the dough. That’s about it. After four folds the dough is refrigerated for only 10 minutes, then rolled out and 4 inch squares are cut to form the individual pastries. They sit for 45 minutes before baking so that the yeast has a chance to work its magic.
They are best baked in rings, although muffin tins can be used. They are baked for longer than you would expect, so that the sugar gets really dark. And utterly delicious.
I did not ask permission to publish the recipe, but my friend Karen has made a beautiful batch in the past, and the recipe is available on her site. She also talks about the origin of this interesting pastry from Brittany.
recipe available here
Comments: This one goes to the OMG files. With honors, with a red carpet rolled out for its entrance. My gosh, this is good. This is so good it should probably be illegal. Think of a croissant, but with sugary caramelized bites in between the layers. A croissant that married a muffin and had a beautiful baby. It won’t crumble into buttery pieces in your mouth. It is actually a lot more sturdy, with the butter tamed by sugar. Oh, yeah. Butter tamed by sugar. Perverse, isn’t it? If you low-carb, if you keto, if you Paleo, this is not for you. But let me tell you one thing. Life is short. The pleasure you’ll have by biting into one of these babies is worth a little restraint for a few days. A few more push-ups, one more mile on the treadmill. There. I hope I made my case.
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