Quick Kouign Amann

Kouign amann (pronounced queen ah-mahn), a pastry from the Brittany region of France, is all about the crisp, flaky pastry and the flavor of both the caramelized sugar and the salted butter. It has a reputation for being finnicky and labor-intensive, but our recipe is a speedy yet no less tasty version.
 
Quick Kouign Amann
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Quick Kouign Amann

Makes 12 pastries

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour
  • cups (396 grams) cold salted butter, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons (6 grams) kosher salt
  • cup (160 grams) ice water
  • 1 cup (200 grams) granulated sugar, divided, plus more for sprinkling
  • ½ cup (160 grams) cherry preserves* (optional)
  • ½ cup (128 grams) chocolate hazelnut spread* (optional)

Instructions

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat flour, cold butter, and salt at low speed just until butter is coated with flour. With mixer on low speed, add ⅔ cup (160 grams) ice water in a slow, steady stream, beating just until dough comes together, about 1 minute, stopping to scrape bottom and sides of bowl and turn dough to hydrate evenly. (There will still be large pieces of butter. It is OK if a few dry bits remain).
  • Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface, and roll into a 9-inch square. Wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 18x10-inch rectangle, lightly flouring surface and top of dough as needed. Fold dough in thirds like a letter. Rotate dough 90 degrees; roll into an 18x10-inch rectangle, and spread ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar over center third of rectangle. Fold in thirds like a letter. Repeat procedure for a third and final turn, spreading ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar over center third of rectangle. Wrap dough in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. (See PRO TIPS.)
  • Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with baking spray with flour. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon (4 grams) sugar in bottom of each cup.
  • Lightly sprinkle sugar onto wprk surface. Turn out dough onto surface, and roll into a 16x12-inch rectangle. Sprinkle sugar onto dough, lightly pressing with your hands to adhere. Cut 12 (4-inch) squares from dough. Fold corners of 1 square into center. Gather sides toward center, and place in a prepared muffin cup. Repeat with remaining pastry squares. Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup (50 grams) sugar onto pastries.
  • Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Immediately remove from pan, and let cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Fill pastries, if desired. Using a small knife, cut a hole in center of each pastry. Spoon preserves and chocolate hazelnut spread into individual pastry bags fitted with a small round piping tip. Pipe into pastries as desired. Serve filled pastries immediately. Store unfilled pastries in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Notes

*We used Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves and Hazelnut Chocolate Spread.
 
PRO TIPS
 
European-style butter is worth the splurge here because it has a higher percentage of butterfat.
 
If your kitchen is hot (especially during summer months), the butter and sugar can melt quickly during lamination. If at any point the dough feels too soft to handle, wrap it in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes between folds.
 
Freezing the dough for long periods of time will cause the sugar to liquify, so the dough is best baked the same day it’s made.
 
Avoid using a dark muffin pan, if possible, as it will caramelize the sugar on the outside before the pastry is fully baked through.

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