Friday, April 27, 2012

Kouign Amann, take 1.

This is a classic example of one of those, trust your gut lessons. And, in this case, don't always trust the celebrity chef.

I have had this recipe for Kouign Amann bookmarked on my computer ever since I tasted it for the first time at Honore Bakery in Seattle. It was quite possibly the best pastry I had ever eaten, and this includes all 100,000 chocolate croissants that I have consumed. I haven't had a lot of free time over the last 4 years, but I am starting to reclaim it slowly and surely. Yippee. So, the other day on a whim, while one kiddo slept and the other was at school, I clicked on the bookmarked tab and started mixing dough. As I looked at the recipe, I had my hesitations, but it was a blog written by David Lebovitz, a well known pastry chef, so I plunged forth. My hesitation was this: the Kouign Amann I had tasted was a flaky, chewy, crispy piece of buttery sugary heaven with a touch of sea salt. My guess was that they use some sort of laminated dough. Not sure what this is? think croissant. lots of layers of butter and dough, delicately folded and rolled over and over again. this creates pockets, flakes in the crust. The David Lebovitz recipe was like, throw some butter and sugar on the dough, fold it some, roll it a little. At one point he even states that if it falls apart to just push the dough back together. I found myself thinking that my Chef teachers at the CIA would laugh if I had done this with a delicate and lovely croissant dough. This was no delicate and lovely croissant dough. This was like lazy man's croissant dough. (not trying to be elitist here. croissant dough is just way more labor intensive, with good reason!) So, I guess I wasn't surprised at the result. But, as I was trudging ahead, I kept thinking, 'well, it is a David Lebovitz it has got to be good, right?'

Um, wrong.

just wrong.

I don't know, maybe this is the real Kouign Amann and the version I had was an improvised version (and much superior, I might add)
So, if you are looking for a lovely, light, layered, flaky, buttery, sugary and crispy pastry, this is not it.

On the other hand, if you want something that is heavy, crispy on top with some decent caramelization, super doughy, butter leached out of the dough and into the bnottom of pie pan.. eek. barf.
I will say that this was edible, sort of. I mean, when is sugar, butter and dough not edible, right? Well, this was on its way to hitting the dirty diapers in the garbage when my husband came in the kitchen to tell me that he actually liked it.

Tomorrow, I may have to introduce him to the real thing.

The Dough before layering.

The finished product. doesn't look too bad. Looks can be deceiving.

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