June 6, 2010

Kouign Amann

I'd like to think I'm pretty well versed in most French pastries, but Kouign Amann really baffled me when I first heard about them.   You probably have the same questions I did: what is it and how the hell do you pronounce it?  It's a pastry originating in the Brittany region of France and is kind of a cross between a croissant and palmier.  And it's pronounced like queen ah-mann.

The kouign amann and I crossed paths when my brother's friend brought some back from a bakery in Salt Lake City called Les Madeleines.   Apparently they are renowned for this pastry.  My brother and sister-in-law emailed me straight away after tasting their version, raving about about how delicious they were.  The perfect blend of sweet, salt, butter and caramel.  Of course I was intrigued and immediately set about doing some research online.   I'm always up for a baking challenge, especially when it's uncharted territory.  I had a feeling I was going to become obsessed with these like I was with macarons.   Fellow baking nerds can relate.

Surprisingly there weren't many recipes out there.  But the ones I was able to find all started with a laminated dough.  I've made laminated doughs before; it's basically a yeast dough with many layers of butter in between.  Think croissant or puff pastry.   The difference with the kouign amann is that the dough is rolled in sugar before it's baked.  The sugar and the butter melt together in the oven producing a salty sweet caramel that the kouign amann is known for.  Sounded simple enough, right?  Not really.

It's so-called simplicity cleverly disguised its difficulty.  Five pounds of flour,  three pounds of European-style butter and several hours of elbow grease later and I think I'm about 80% there.    Just need a few more practice runs before I get it right.  Will post the recipe when I achieve success.


  1. I saw these featured on the food network!! I think it was "Road Tasted With The Neelys"? They look delicious!!
    Would you mind checking out my blog? :D http://ajscookingsecrets.blogspot.com/

  2. Well, you sure did a great job, they look wonderful! I don't see how they can get any better, wish I could have a few right now!

  3. I live in SLC and LOVE Les Madeleines pastries. Look like you nailed their most famous one!

  4. i'm so impressed. i live in Utah and anytime I'm downtown I make a trip to Les Madeleines just for these!

  5. Anonymous6/07/2010

    Oh, your kouing amann looks like the recipe I use from sfbi pastry chef.

  6. I saw this on Food Network, too, but on a different show. This looks fabulous. I've been wanting to make it as well. I can't wait until you post the recipe. It looks perfect to me already.

  7. They also make these at the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, at Honore Bakery. So wonderful! Get there early as they sell out.

    I saw these on the Food Network too, last night on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Salty Goodness," which I think was a rerun. They were talking about the Salt Lake City version.

    Here's a write-up about attempts to make: http://www.oregonlive.com/foodday/index.ssf/2010/03/rise_and_shine.html

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