The traditional cake is not much more than a simple combination of butter and sugar, layered in
the same way as puff pastry, but between a yeasted dough. You can tell a good kouign-amman
just by looking at it (beware of pale imitations masquerading as the real thing); it should have
a crunchy, deep caramel–colored shell, a sign it has been baked long and hot enough to make
the pastry crisp and the sugar caramelized.
- Yield: 12 pastries
- Preparation Time: 1 Hour
- Cooking Time: 30 Minutes
- 2 cups (260 g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp instant yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ cup warm water
- ¾ cup plus 2 tbsp (200 g) butter, frozen for 30 minutes
- ¾ cup (150 g) sugar
- 2 handfuls of red currants, black currants, or lingonberries, frozen or fresh, stemmed
- In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and continue to mix until it forms a ball (if the dough is very dry add 1 tbsp water). Remove the dough from the bowl and knead for at least 10 minutes or until smooth. Place the dough back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and leave in a warm place for 1 hour.
- Cut the butter into very thin slices (roughly ⅟₁₆ inch thick). Refrigerate until needed.
- Dust the work surface lightly with flour. Roll out the dough to a rectangle roughly 12 by 16 inches, with the short side facing you. Place the butter slices in the middle of the dough; they can overlap slightly. The butter should cover about half of the dough, leaving a quarter of the dough all the way around like a frame.
- Fold the top and bottom edges of the dough over the butter to meet in the middle, like you’re folding a letter. Take the rolling pin and press down gently all over the dough. Repeat folding and pressing one more time.
- Fold the top half of the dough over the bottom half and turn the pastry so that you have the seam on the left (like a book). Roll out the dough again to a rectangle about 12 by 16 inches, with the short side facing you. Fold the bottom edge over to the middle, and fold the top down to meet it in the middle. Then fold the top half over the bottom half once more (this process is called a roll and fold). Wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap (it will expand) and leave it to rest in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or preferably overnight.
- Butter the muffin pan and leave in the fridge until needed.
- When the dough has rested, put a baking sheet in the oven and preheat to 400°F. Sprinkle your work surface liberally with some of the sugar. Place the dough on top of the sugar (with the seam on the left) and sprinkle the dough with more sugar. Roll out the dough to a large rectangle about 12 by 16 inches, with the long side facing you. Add more sugar to the work surface if the dough begins to stick. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar on top of the pastry and scatter the berries on top. Roll up the dough tightly and cut into 12 equal slices. Place each kouignette in the muffin pan, put the muffin pan on the preheated baking sheet, and bake for 25 minutes, or until the kouignettes are a deep golden brown. Remove the kouignettes from the oven and leave to cool for 5 minutes before removing them from the pan. (Do not leave to cool completely in the pan or they will get stuck.) Cool completely and serve; these will not keep.