Kouing Amman: Breton Butter & Sugar Pastry {ModBak}

“This Breton specialty is like a cross between croissant dough and palmiers….”

So begins Nick Malgieri‘s description of Kouing Amman. Who wouldn’t want that? Flaky, buttery croissant dough crusted in caramelized sugar. So, even though I had never heard of this pastry, I was excited to try the next recipe in the Modern Baker Challenge.

The recipe consists of a simple dough, folded with butter and rolled with sugar. After mixing yeast, water, flour, salt, and butter into a dough, which I chilled for half an hour, I rolled out the dough, and smeared it with butter.

I folded the dough in thirds, scattered the work surface and dough with sugar, rolled the dough out into a rectangle, and gave it another fold. I refrigerated the dough for an hour, then continued the process of rolling and folding the dough, liberally sugaring the dough and work surface all the while.

After working in about one cup of sugar, I rolled the dough into a circle and pressed it into a 10-inch round stoneware baking pan. I sprinkled on the last of the sugar, then covered the dough and let it rise for about two hours. I baked the pastry at 350° F for one hour, until it was well-puffed and the sugar on top had caramelized.

When it came out of the oven, the pastry was swimming in sugary butter (you can see some of it in the lower right hand side of the pan in the picture above), which absorbed into the pastry as it cooled. I let it cool completely, then sliced and served it right from the pan.

The Kouing Amman was flaky, crusty with sugar, and looked really light. When I cut into it with a fork, I was surprised to find it a little tough. It tasted pretty good, and it had distinct layers like puff pastry, but it was a bit on the chewy side. I found the toughness of the pastry layers offputting and not something I’d like to eat too often.

In the end, the flavor was fine, but the texture was such that I don’t see myself making this recipe again.

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10 Comments

  1. Sara said,

    November 4, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    Hmmm…I’m really curious about this, but have been procrastinating. I may continue to do so. I have read some recipes that specifically ask you to use European butter if possible (apparently the % of butterfat is required to be just slightly higher in France). Maybe that would make the difference here too? If (I mean, WHEN) I make this, I’ll pick up the gourmet French butter at Whole Foods (or that Kerrygold Irish butter which I think is also extra-fatty). I suppose if the main ingredient is butter, it’s probably the time to splurge…

    • gaaarp said,

      November 4, 2010 at 9:46 pm

      Interesting. I have Kerrygold in the fridge. It didn’t occur to me to use it. It does have a higher percentage of butterfat than US butter. I wonder if that would have made a difference.

  2. astheroshe said,

    October 31, 2010 at 7:19 am

    i am glad i waited to bake this. 🙂 I have heard this could happen. The butter not absorbing into the crust etc, as it should be, when made with Breton butter. Something about Breton butter has lower moisture. So American results are not as fine. Sorry this one did not work out :(. I am going to now tweak this from the beginning with the info i have, and we will see what i get! 🙂

    • gaaarp said,

      October 31, 2010 at 1:18 pm

      Perhaps, armed with that knowledge, yours will come out more palatable. Can’t wait to read your post!

  3. Renee said,

    October 31, 2010 at 12:09 am

    Hmm, I don’t remember it being chewy, but it wasn’t as flaky as say a croissant. They can’t all be winners for everyone.

    • gaaarp said,

      October 31, 2010 at 12:12 am

      Maybe it was user error. It’s the first one from this section I haven’t cared for, so I guess that’s OK.

  4. Margaret said,

    October 30, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    This was going to bemy nest one. Will remember comments on tough crust. Bummer.

    • gaaarp said,

      October 30, 2010 at 11:00 pm

      Maybe yours will be better. I followed the recipe, so I’m not sure what happened.

  5. Kayte said,

    October 30, 2010 at 9:53 pm

    Very interesting. I thought it looked great and loaded with calories…something that was bound to scream “Bet you can’t just eat one bite!” Hmmm…now the desire is on to make this and see if I get the same result b/c it sure sounds like the result should be different from the description. Game on…when can I fit this in….soon! It looks very nice, I will say that.

    • gaaarp said,

      October 30, 2010 at 10:58 pm

      I can’t wait to hear how yours comes out. It seemed like such a promising recipe.


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