Kuign Amann

Discussion in 'Pastries & Baking' started by phoebe, Sep 29, 2003.

  1. phoebe

    phoebe

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    I just got back from a vacation in France and fell absolutely in love with a Breton buttercake called Kuign Amann (or Aman) :roll:. In fact, I think I'll forever associate the smell of warm butter (lots and lots of butter :D ) and sugar with Brittany. The second night we were there our B & B owner ended dinner with his grandmother's recipe. I begged him for a copy--after rhapsodizing over the taste, the smell, the entire experience of this incredible dessert :smiles: ) but he just said it was simple: butter, sugar and a little flour.
    However, the recipes I've found through Googling are a little more complicated than that. Here's a link to the one I intend to try: Kuign Amann . Have any of you ever made this cake before? Any comments on this recipe? Got a better one?
    The reason I haven't made it yet is because we need to arrange a small gathering of people to try it. Otherwise David and I are in real danger of eating the whole thing ourselves :eek: . And we're already trying to lose the weight we gained on the trip. :D
     
  2. anneke

    anneke

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    Wow Phoebe... Kouing-Aman: that really takes me back! And talk about heart attack on a platter! I used to love the corners where the sugar would pool and make a caramel. Makes your back teeth stick! Some people make it with left over croissant trimmings rolled up and fried, but as you know, the authentic recipe requires quite a bit more care.

    Here's a link to a really good site if you like visuals:

    http://b-simon.ifrance.com/b-simon/kouingn.htm

    Let us know how it turns out!
     
  3. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Okay, so now Brittany is on my "must visit" list!

    The site you linked to, Anneke, mentioned Tarte au Sucre (a speciality of the Nord region). I found a recipe for it in Craig Claiborne's New York Times Cookbook (1979 edition), page 619. It includes egg yolks (5 of them) with the sugar, flour, yeast and water of the tart mixture. It incorporates most of the butter into the dough, and leaves the sugar and butter topping for the last few minutes of baking.

    I think I tasted Tarte au Sucre when visiting friends in Douai (Nord-Pas de Calais). It was delicious! :lips:
     
  4. phoebe

    phoebe

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    Anneke--

    Thank you so much for the link with the pictures! I do like visuals to help me. What do you think about the salted butter? Both your recipe and mine calls for that (mine has a blurb at the top about the Breton use of salt in butter), but I'm used to working with unsalted butter. Is there a brand that might be close to what they are referring to or would regular old Land O Lakes salted work just fine?

    I may have to just take the plunge this weekend with or without guests. My excuse would be I have to try out the recipe to make sure it works. Right? ;)

    And Mezz--

    Oh please don't point me in the direction of any more of these desserts! (oh well, yes please do :D ) Brittany is lovely, (and the crepes were great too!), but stick kind of close to the water. We drove through the central area at one point and it wasn't as interesting (or as tasty).
     
  5. anneke

    anneke

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    Phoebe,

    I have a book that I purchased in Bretagne by Jacques Thorel. His recipes for both the Douarnenez and the Scaer kouing amann call for demi-sel, preferably farmer's demi-sel.
     
  6. thebighat

    thebighat

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    Pierre Herme's expensive book has a formula for this. It seemed pretty straightforward until it said to sprinkle a lb of sugar onto the dought during a fold. After seeing the pictures and reading the description above about the caramelized sugar in the corners of the pan, I can visualize it.
     
  7. phoebe

    phoebe

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    A pound of sugar!!!!:eek: Jeez. The one I'm trying to duplicate was sweetened, but the dominant taste was butter. There were definitely caramel overtones but not to a teeth-sticking extent.
     
  8. thebighat

    thebighat

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    Yeah, I didn't see how you could dump that much sugar onto a dough and then only turn it once after that. It's not going to incorporate and will spill out. Confusing formula, as most of them in that book are. Seemed like a croissant dough, with no milk. I'm having a down day. Had to have our pet rabbit Thumper euthanized this am. If it feels like we've lost part of the family, it's because we have. We had him for 8 1/2 years. I just buried him in the backyard.
     
  9. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Oh, TBH.... that is so sad. :(

    About the salted butter... I suppose you could use Land O' Lakes, but isn't the water content higher than European butter? I'm not sure which of the brands are salted, but I know President does come sweet or salted. I think European butter (or cultured butter) would give a more authentic taste, despite having different flour. Also, the sugar would probably be beet sugar rather than cane sugar. Beet sugar is a bit less sweet to my taste. Maybe using turbinado would keep more of it inside the dough, if you were using that recipe.
     
  10. phoebe

    phoebe

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    TBH--I'm so sorry! Losing a pet that's become family is so very difficult. My best to you and the rest of your family.

    Mezz--I'm going to check with a restaurant supply place nearby called Surfas. They carry all kinds of imported ingredients and hopefully they'll have demi-sel. Beet sugar? I'll ask them about that as well. Thanks so much for the help.
     
  11. isa

    isa

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    Phoebe,

    Is your French good enough to follow a recipe? I found one in the Larousse des desserts. Would you like to have it?
     
  12. phoebe

    phoebe

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    Yes, Isa, I would love the recipe. Thank you:D ! My reading French is OK and I have a big dictionary as a back-up.

    Let me just say right up front that I am no baker. No one would (or should) every mistake me for one. But I love baked goods and love the smell they make in the house and love the process. I made what I'd hoped would be Kouign Amann (whichever spelling you prefer) last weekend. The guests ate what I served, but I have no idea why. The first and most glaring clue was after the yeast was activated and the flour, water and salt (pinch, not the tsp. called for in the recipe I used--see the link in my first post) added, what I was confronted with in my mixing bowl was more batter than dough. And I knew that no matter how much I mixed, it wasn't going to come together into any recognizable ball. How are you supposed to knead that? So I added more flour until there was something substantial to knead. The end result was more sweet bread-like than melty buttery cake. Was it the recipe? What I did when the recipe stopped making sense? Should I be banned from baking? Help :eek:
     
  13. anneke

    anneke

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    I'm a little weary of Larousse and Herme. So far, none of the recipes have turned out very well. It's a good basic book, an overview of French pastry but for recipes I don't tink I'll rely on it again. When I have time I'll post Thorel's recipe if you'd like to compare. I haven't tried it myself though...
     
  14. isa

    isa

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    I'm so surprised to read that Anneke. I never had any problem with the Larousse and Herme's, must have tried different recipes. Can you point out which recipes are not working so I can make suire to avoid them.


    Phoebe I'll translate the recipe and email it to you.
     
  15. athenaeus

    athenaeus

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    Isa do you think that you can post it here too?

    TBH I am very sorry for your rabbit. Never before have I heard of a family that had a rabbit for that long.
     
  16. isa

    isa

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    Will do Athenaeus.
     
  17. thebighat

    thebighat

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    I made this item last night from Herme's expensive book. I drizzled the sugar onto the dough as I made the turns. The only change I made was giving it 4 turns as any recipe I found on the web called for that. The sugar melted in the reefer and the dough was very wet with that syrup when I would take it out to turn. So the dough tore somewhat when rolled. I cut it in half, rolled half into a large square and then folded the corners to the middle twice per the recipe, proofed it(probably not long enough) and baked it in a round pyrex lathered with butter and sprinkled with sugar. It was a qualified success. Tasty, sugary crisp buttery outside, the inside was a little weird. I have no idea what it's supposed to be like, but I can imagine, if done correctly, it's going to be like a croissant inside. I have the other half sitting on the counter taking the chill off while I get up the nerve to watch the Red Sox do it to us again. Told a lady at the store today who was picking up a birthday cake that she can always tell her daughter that she turned two on the day the Red Sox didn't go to the World Series again.
     
  18. thebighat

    thebighat

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    Well, how bout that? As Burma Jones used to say,"Whoa! Intimidatia."
     
  19. anneke

    anneke

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    TBH, the ones that I have had are much denser and chewier than croissants. There isn't really any air in there to lighten it up. So how did it turn out?
     
  20. thebighat

    thebighat

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    It was dense and chewy. I thought it was a wrong texture. The finished item felt heavy for it's size. The dark brown outside was delicious, but the inside, I don't know.