Each time we go to France, I make a point of stopping in the local patisseries and boulangeries to sample the various items and enjoy those that are my particular favorites (I’m a sucker for pain au chocolat).
If you’ve been following me for some time, you’ll know that I did fieldwork in Brittany, France and that I love Breton cuisine. I’m not much of a baker, but when it comes to Breton cakes (or crepes), I’ll spend the time in the kitchen required (and for this recipe there is quite a bit of time required).
Les kouignettes are essentially the “cupcake” version of the Breton cake kouign amann. It’s a delicious, flaky treat filled with either fruits or pistachio or chocolate. The dough takes quite some time to prepare, so it’s something that you’ll have to work on throughout the day while using the downtime to do other things, but it’s oh-so-worth-it.
This serves 24 because 12 are not enough!
- Frozen fruit (I grabbed a mixed berry medley so I could create an assortment of flavors)
- 3 and 1/3 cups of flour
- 2 packets of yeast
- 1.5 cups of warm water
- 4 sticks of salted butter cut into 12 square slices each
- 1 cup of sugar
Kouignettes Recipe, a Variation on Kouign Amann
Combine the flour, yeast, and water in a large bowl. I divided the ingredients for each of these in half and created two separate batches. Knead the dough for about 5-10 minutes. Place the dough in a clean bowl (with some oil spread across the bottom so it doesn’t stick). Cover and set aside for one hour.
Place butter slices on a plate and freeze.
Once dough has risen (after about an hour), flour your work surface and divide the dough into four total balls. If you split the dough into two batches at the beginning, split them once more. If you did the first step in one batch, divide the dough into four equally-sized pieces. Roll the first quarter of the dough out into a rectangle so that the short end faces you.
Lay 12 slices in the center of the dough, leaving room on all sides (about 1/4 to 1/2 an inch on the sides). Fold the top of the dough down and the bottom of the dough up so that they meet in the center. Fold the sides in and then fold the whole thing in half so that the seam is on your left.
Press dough firmly with rolling pin or hands and then roll it back out to the same size it was before folding. Repeat the same folding process before rolling it out once more.
Place dough on a piece of parchment paper and place in the fridge for two hours. Repeat this process for the remaining three batches of dough.
After two hours, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare cooking tins by greasing or buttering them liberally (it will make removing the kouignettes from the tin possible without breaking them).
Prepare your work surface by dusting it with sugar rather than flour and remove dough from refrigeration. Place first section of dough onto work surface and sprinkle with sugar (as much or as little as you like). Scatter fruit or spread on jelly.
Roll the dough up tightly and cut into six even pieces. Place into cooking tray and repeat the process for the next three sections of dough.
Bake for 20-25 minutes (until the kouignettes are a deep gold/medium brown). Remove from trays immediately and place kouignettes on a cooling rack.
Kouignette Making Tips
You can use jelly instead of frozen fruit, but be warned – it becomes very sticky. It still tastes absolutely delicious but is a huge pain to remove from the cupcake tin (read: they break)! They also tend to be sweeter, so use less sugar if you take this route.
Try Nutella instead of fruit or use it in addition to the fruit. Seriously… yum.
They are fantastic paired with a good coffee or tea.
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Have you made kouignettes or kouign amann? What’s your favorite filling to put in them? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!