To kick off a month of French cooking, I decided to start with dessert. And why not. Everyone knows that French desserts and pastries are over-the-top delicious. And after 2020, we deserve a special treat!
The name Kouign Amann comes from the Breton language words for cake (kouign) and butter (Amann). This French pastry originated from Brittany, a region in France known for its butter. And these rolls are slathered, did I say slathered? with butter! There was so much butter in the recipes I found, I decided to dial back the amount of butter I used for my recipe. And believe me, it tastes delicious despite a little less butter!
The butter and sugar in this croissant-like dough glaze together for a caramelized crust. It’s a popular French breakfast treat.
The tedious part of this recipe is the rolling, folding, and cooling, and rolling, folding, and cooling of the dough. The purpose is to create layers and distribute the butter throughout the layers. Oh yeah! This recipe does take time between the rolling and cooling, so make sure you have dedicated enough time in the kitchen to get through the process. I chose to put on a French-themed movie to watch while I was in the kitchen making these.
These steps of rolling, folding, and cooling are repeated several times.
The four corners in this traditional French Kouign Amann are usually gathered together to create a roll or muffin-like appearance. I chose to leave the four corners open.
You just can’t get enough of this delicious goodness in photos or taste! Eat as an after-dinner delight as a dessert or munch on one for a breakfast treat.
Let's Start With Dessert - French Kouign Amann Pastry
Be sure to remove the muffins from the tins or molds to cool. Leaving them in the pan to cool will create a sticky, hard to remove mess. Best enjoyed warm out of the oven but are also good cold the next day.
1 cup water, 110 degrees F
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus more for working the dough on the counter)
1 teaspoon salt
6 ounces salted butter, softened (1 1/2 cubes), plus additional to grease the muffin tin or muffin mold
1 1/2 cups sugar, plus additional for rolling dough
In the bowl of your stand mixer, stir yeast into warm water and let proof for about 5 minutes or until bubbly. Add flour and salt and combine with a large spoon. Attach dough hook to the mixer and knead the dough for 4-5 minutes or until smooth and somewhat tacky.
Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let it rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Once the dough has doubled, place it in the refrigerator to chill for one-half hour.
Roll the rested and cooled dough into a 12 inch by 20 inch rectangle on a well-floured counter.
Spread the softened butter onto 2/3 of the dough. Fold the bare dough over the buttered dough in thirds. (see photos) Carefully press the seams of the dough together to hold the butter in place.
Turn the dough 90 degrees and roll out again into a 12 by 20 inch triangle. And fold as before in thirds. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured baking sheet and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
Remove the cooled dough from the refrigerator and transfer onto a well-floured surface. Let it rest for a few minutes, then roll it out once more into a 12 X 20 rectangle. Sprinkle 3/4 cup of sugar on the entire rectangle and lightly press the sugar into the dough. Roll in thirds as before. Repeat this process once more (rolling out, sprinkling sugar and folding into thirds). Be sure to press the sugar into the dough otherwise it will just fall into a clump when you fold it.
Transfer the dough back to the baking sheet and chill for 30 minute.
Place a muffin tin (or molds) on a baking sheet and generously butter the muffin tins. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Remove the dough from the fridge and place on a surface that has been generously sprinkled with sugar. Roll the dough into an 8 by 24 inch rectangle. Using a pastry wheel or pizza cutter, trim the folded edges to give the dough straight edges and expose the layers and then cut into 12 even squares.
Stuff the squares into each muffin tin so the edges are either folded together like a small package or just scooped (see photo). Let them rise another 30-40 minutes.
Before baking, lower the oven temperature to 350 and bake for 40 minutes. Pastries should be a golden brown to deep brown. Remove from the muffin tins as soon as possible and transfer to cooling rack. Serve warm.