How are you? The other day, Johanna presented you two of the roadtrips in France we would like to make: “Asterix’s Tour de France – The Northern Part” and “Asterix’s Tour de France – The Southern Part“. As Johanna explains in her article, Asterix comes from Brittany and so I wanted to prepare a recipe from this beautiful region for you.
About 3 years ago we had the opportunity to visit a part of Brittany. I have to say that the Celtic culture and this whole mysterious side of the Celts fascinate me: the dolmen, the tumulus, the symbols engraved on the stones, how they oriented their monuments according to the equinox or the solstice… in any case, I found it very impressive.
As to Brittany’s culinary side, you see that it is close to the sea on its menu, which is full of seafood such as oysters, clams, lobsters, prawns, etc., together with products of the land. It is a region with a rather harsh climate, so many of its recipes, especially in terms of sweets, are quite caloric. Plus, they are often based on salted butter.
For today’s recipe I could have chosen the most famous dish of Brittany, the galettes, but I think that precisely this dish is best tasted on-site with Brittany’s good products and its buckwheat flour. To choose another good traditional recipe, I finally asked one of my colleagues at work, the Breton Audren, for help. After discussing this with his parents, he gave me a list of traditional recipes and that is where I found a great recipe to present to you.
Today we will be baking a Kouign Amann. It is a traditional cake that is usually eaten at certain celebrations or sometimes as a snack for special occasions. Like many Breton sweets, this cake is made from very basic ingredients and with a significant proportion of butter. I have to say that it is tremendously good, but it must be eaten in moderation, unless you are doing a lot of sports!
So today we are travelling to Asterix’s homeland to bake and taste a spectacular Kouign Amann!
Ingredients for 6-8 people:
- flour: 250 g
- baker’s yeast: 10 g
- lukewarm water: 100 ml
- salt: a pinch
- salted butter: 200 g, at room temperature
- sugar: 200 g
Time for preparation: 3 to 3,5 hours, rising time included
Time for baking: 35 minutes in the pre-heated oven, at 210 °C
Start by mixing the yeast with 3 tablespoons of warm water until it dissolves. Put the flour and salt in a bowl. Form a volcano out of it and pour the water and the dissolved yeast inside. Knead until you get an elastic dough.
Form a ball and let it rest covered for at least 2 hours, ideally 3 hours, until it doubles in volume.
When your dough has doubled, roll it out with the help of a rolling pin. You should form a rectangle about 1 cm thick. Now for the fun part, spread a layer of butter over the entire dough, leaving a margin of 3 cm free at each side of the dough. Then sprinkle sugar all over the buttered part of the dough.
And now comes the more delicate process of the recipe. You have to fold the dough in three lengthways, trying not to let the butter get out of the interior of the dough. To do this, fold the lower third towards the centre. Then fold the upper part towards the centre. Make sure the edges are well closed.
Turn the dough 90 degrees. Roll out the dough again with the rolling pin, slowly and gently to ensure that the butter and sugar remain inside the dough. When you have another rectangle about 1 cm thick, repeat the folding process and roll it out again. Your dough is now almost ready for baking.
Prepare your baking tin by laying it out with paper everywhere and buttering it well. If you look on the internet you will see that the Kouign Amann comes in different forms. I chose one that reminds me of the Celtic symbol, for which a used a round baking tin, if possible a springform tin.
As you had rolled out your dough in a rectangle, you now roll it up on its longest side. Divide it into 3 to 3,5 cm wide parts, in my case I got 11 parts. Put them upright in the mould, so that you can see the different layers of dough. Assemble them in a nice shape, and leave them covered for about 30 minutes. Use of this waiting time to preheat your oven to 210 °C.
After this time, put some more pieces of butter on the Kouign Amann. Bake it for 30 to 35 minutes until it has a good, slightly dark golden colour. After taking the Kouign Amann out of the oven, leave it for approximately 15 minutes before removing it from the mould, so that it can absorb all the liquids and caramel that emerged during baking.
The Kouign Amann tastes much better when eaten as long as it is still a bit warm!
Do you know the Breton culture and cuisine? What Breton recipes do you know and make at home?