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Kouign-Amann, a mouthful to say (pronounced QUEEN-ah-mahn) , and by all accounts, to eat. But have you ever heard or tried this king amongst cakes?
Known as the richest pastry in Europe this calorific cake hails from Brittany in the North of France, where it was first baked over 100 years ago.
After appearing on The Great British Bake Off a few years ago and featuring in Dominique Ansel's US bakeries (known as DKS) and being given a twist by famous French Patissiers like Cedric Grolet, this pastry's reputation goes before it. In fact, so much so Food and Wine ranked the Douarnenez Breton cake among its 40 best recipes of all time, out of the 24,000 published since 1978.
What is a Kouign-Amann?
Think of a caramelised croissant in large cake form! This buttery Breton creation is 50% butter and 50% dough and dusted with sugar and salt before slowly baking until the butter puffs up the dough (resulting in the layered aspect of it) and the sugar caramelizes. It can be both sweet and savoury.
It's not easily mastered and the dough can be unpredictable, but here's how to have a go in the hands of the experts over at ChefSteps:
How to Make Kouign-Amann
Where to Eat Kouign Amann in Paris
Kouign Amann is not isolated to Brittany, it can also be found in a number of patisserie in Paris, meaning a pilgramage can be made to discover the best buttery creation on any city trip! Here's are the must try addresses:
The Addictive Kouign Amann by Cyril Lignac
Even if it doesn't really look like the kouign amann traditionally found in Brittany, it must be said that that of Cyril Lignac is highly addictive! His recipe? 1.2kg of flour, 1kg of butter, 1kg of sugar (kouign amann is not a light dessert, it is well known), salt, yeast and water. His secret? Make four all instead of two to make a larger, flaky dough. A sure thing!
The black wheat Kouign Amann from Yann Couvreur
Laminated as desired, well buttered, caramelized ... In short, the kouign amann by Yann Couvreur has all it takes to seduce. The pastry chef offers a recipe based on black wheat for 110gr of pure happiness!
Gilles Marchal's Reference Kouign Amann
It's impossible to establish a list of the best kouign amann in Paris without mentioning those of Gilles Marchal. The pastry chef from Lorraine, known for designing one of the most tasty kouglof of the capital, is not left Breton pastry side. It crusts, it drips with butter, the sugar sticks to the fingers ... But that's exactly what we like in kouign amann!
Where ? Gilles Marchal, 9 rue Ravignan, 75018 Paris.
Price: 2.90 euros
The Kouign Amann from Boulangerie du Nil
Butter, sugar, butter, sugar, more butter and ... sugar! Boulangerie du Nil has not departed from the rule - and that's good! - kouign amann and offers a pastry well flaky and crispy to devour breakfast, dessert, afternoon tea ... In short, as soon as you feel like it!
Where? Boulangerie du Nil, 3 rue du Nil, 75002 Paris.
The multi layered Kougin Amann at Blé Sucré
We finish this selection with one of the best kouign amann in Paris, which is none other than that of Ble sucre. It is the perfect balance between sugar and butter for a gourmet result without being too much and especially laminated to perfection!
Where? Ble Sucre, 7 rue Antoine Vollon, 75012 Paris.