Unless of course you were glued to your telly screen last night with this week's episode of The Great British Bake Off, you would be forgiven for thinking the Kouign Amann was the name of a piece of flat pack furniture from IKEA. But no. As the Bake Off contestants discovered, a Kouign Amann is a delectably decadent buttery, pastry cake from the Breton region of France. Yes, there is a lot to like about this bake.
Now normally each Wednesday night will find me, feet up, cuppa and cake to hand, captivated by Mel-n-Sue's innuendos, Paul's judgments and Mary's fashion choices. Oh, and the baking 'course. But this week I baked-along-a-bake-off with Stork as I tried to recreate the technical challenge, the Kouign Amann.
Similar to the bakers, I too HAD ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT I WAS DOING. There was proving. And chillin'. And an awful lot of super sticky dough. And figuring out the faffy folding. And great sprinklings of sugar from high. And all that was before I got terribly muddled reading the recipe instructions while watching contestants shout out random baking instructions on the telly. When Luis discussed adding paprika, oregano, chorizo and beef I became ever so confused and dismayed, thinking I'd missed out over half of the ingredients. It then dawned on me he was discussing his savoury Spanish pastries signature bake. Phew.
But, ta-dah, here's my attempt at a Kouign Amann! With a bit of twist, this version includes pecans and salted caramel. And it tasted really, really rather good. Certainly, I imagine, way better than the taste of IKEA flat pack furniture.
Salted Caramel Pecan Kouign Amann
275g plain flour
1.5 tsp fast action yeast
0.5 tsp caster sugar
0.5 tsp table salt
180ml water, lukewarm
200g soft brown sugar, divided into 4 x 50g portions
110g Stork block, diced
100g pecans, chopped
1.5 tsp sea salt flakes
30g melted Stork block
1. Combine the flour, yeast, caster sugar and table salt. Add the lukewarm water and mix to form a dough. Knead for 3 minutes until smooth and place in a clean bowl, cover and leave in a warm place for 1hr to rise
2. Roll out the dough into a large rectangle. Add one portion of the brown sugar and the diced Stork block to the middle and scatter over a little of the flaked seasalt
3. Fold in the left hand side, followed by the right hand side to form a parcel
4. Scatter over the top another portion of the sugar and a little seasalt
5. Fold down the top and then the bottom up
6. Wrap in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for one hour
7. Scatter the work surface with brown sugar and top the dough with one further portion of brown sugar, a pinch of seasalt and roll out to a rectangle again
8. Sprinkle over the pecans, reserving 2 tbsps and roll lightly to indent them into the dough
9. Repeat the double folding process, as above
10. Wrap in clingfilm and chill again for a further thirty minutes
11. Brush a 8inch round tin with the melted Stork
12. Gently roll out the dough to the shape of the tin and carefully transfer across to the tin
13. Add the remaining sugar, melted Stork, pecans and sea salt to the top of the pastry
14. Bake for 40-45min until darkly caramelised on top
15. Sprinkle with icing sugar to serve
- Paul reckons we should be aiming for a structured, sweet puff pastry and clearly defined, delicate layers. I reckon just aim for a tasty, sweet flaky pastry pudding
- Perhaps not the simplest bake to make (there are more folds than a pleated skirt) but do try; it's like an absolutely massive indecently buttery, sugary croissant!