Kouign amann

This week’s pastry episode was one of my favourite in this series, there were some interesting signature savoury parcels, lots of tasty looking show stopping eclairs and everyone was on an even footing with the technical bake. None of the bakers had heard of kouign amann and neither had I before watching the episode. Making something you have never heard of, tasted or even seen must have been a real challenge for the contestants especially with Paul’s ambiguous instructions.

kouign amann

I decided to have a go at making the kouign amann, with a name that translates to butter (amann) cake (kouign), who could resist! They do take a bit of work and are definitely not quick but if you have a bit of pastry making experience they are pretty straight forward and the buttery, caramelised flakiness is definitely worth it!

kouign amann

Two tips; make sure you keep a track of how many turns you do and make sure you chill the dough in between. And a note about the butter – in my research I found some recipes using salted and some using unsalted, I went for salted because I love the combination of sweet caramelised and salty flavours. I found a great guide to making them here  
, which has loads of photos to guide you through the folding and rolling.

kouign amann

Kouign amann

Ingredients

300g strong plain flour, plus a bit extra for rolling out

5g fast action yeast

200ml warm water

25g melted butter

250g cold salted butter

100g caster sugar

  1. Put the flour in a bowl, add the yeast then pour in the water and melted butter.
  2. Combine the ingredients either using your hands or a mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  3. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.
  4. Leave to rise for an hour.
  5. Put the butter between two sheets of greaseproof paper and bash it with a rolling pin until it’s just less than a centimetre thick then put it back in the fridge.
  6. Once the dough has risen, roll it out into a square a couple of centimetres bigger than your butter.
  7. Place the chilled butter diagonally on the dough and fold the corners over the butter into the centre. It should look like an envelope.
  8. Roll the dough out into a rectangle, fold the bottom third of the dough up and the top third down so you have three layers of dough. Wrap in cling film and place in the fridge for half an hour.
  9. Repeat step 8 two more times, chilling for half an hour after each.
  10. Roll the dough out into a rectangle and sprinkle with the sugar then fold into thirds again.
  11. Again roll the dough out into a rectangle, working quickly so that the sugar doesn’t dissolve into the dough.
  12. Cut the rectangle into 12 squares, bring the corners of each square together and put them in a greased muffin tin.
  13. Sprinkle them with a bit more sugar and then leave to rise for half an hour.
  14. Bake in an oven preheated to 200°C/Gas 7 for between 30 and 40 minutes, the pastries should be quite dark and caramelised.
  15. Enjoy the pastries warm out of the oven or allow them to cool.

It is quite a time consuming recipe, but it is worth it, your house will smell like a French boulangerie! If you want you can chill the dough overnight after you have finished the turns but before you add the sugar.

kouign amann

 

 

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Baking for Malawi

In two weeks time I will be in Malawi, I am going to be taking part in a 10 week volunteer project working with nursery schools in a rural part of Malawi. I am going with an organisation called Lattitude and it’s part of the ICS programme. I’ve had to do some fundraising and what better way to do that than make cake! My parents very kindly let me take over their house to hold a coffee morning and afternoon tea. Lots of people came along and supported me and I ended up raising over £200, thank you! It was great to see so many people and tell them all about what I am going to be doing over in Malawi.

cupcakes

I made cherry cake, lemon and poppy seed loaf, scones, flapjacks and four different types of cupcake (chocolate, vanilla, lemon meringue and bakewell tart)! I didn’t get to take many photos but I thought I’d share the ones I did take   on here, if you want recipes comment below and I will write another post with recipes.

cupcakes

If you would like to find out more about what I am doing in Malawi or donate you can go to my JustGiving page. If you’d like to find out more about ICS click here, my experience of the ICS programme has been great so far and if you are aged 18-25 and want to do some volunteer work I would definitely recommend it.

scones

Bake Off update: no European cake this week I’m afraid because all of my baking time was taken up with the coffee morning and afternoon tea but you can see my Swedish Princess Cake I baked a few weeks ago here. I really enjoyed the pastry episode and I’m hoping to have a go at making kouign amann before this week’s episode. With me going away I’m going to miss the final but I will be baking and blogging up until I go. I don’t think there will be much opportunity for baking when I’m in Malawi so the blog will be taking a break but I will be back just before Christmas.

Pies and Tarts

Firstly, sorry for the massive break in posts! I have been mega busy, with not a lot of time to bake, so the blog has been neglected. And what a week to miss! At the end of my last post I predicted Baked Alaska dramas, and there was definitely drama. I did feel a bit sorry for Iain and his melted ice cream but I don’t think Diana deliberately sabotaged him.

This week’s episode was pies and tarts, starting off with Signature Custard Tarts, next Paul challenged the bakers to make Mini Pear Tarts in the Technical Bake and finally Showstopping Three Tiered Pies. I decided to make ‘exotic’ Tarte au Citron as a tribute to Norman! I baked mine in some very cute mini tart tins, they are only 8cm diameter and you can get soix from this recipe. You could also double the recipe and make a 25cm tart, you would need to cook it for about 15 – 20 minutes.

tarte au citron

Tarte au Citron

Pastry ingredients

125g plain flour

85g butter

10g caster sugar

1 egg yolk

1 tsp water

Lemon custard ingredients

1 egg

50g caster sugar

75ml double cream

zest and juice of 1 lemon

25g butter

  1. Rub the butter and flour together until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.
  2. Stir in the sugar.
  3. Add the egg yolk and the water and use a knife to mix and bring the dough together.
  4. Wrap the dough up in cling film and chill in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
  5. Roll out the cool pastry on a lightly floured surface and line your tins or tin.
  6. Put the lined tins back in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4, take the tins from the fridge and line with baking paper and fill with baking beans.
  8. Bake the pastry cases for 15 minutes, taking the baking paper and baking beans out for the last 5 minutes.
  9. While the pastry cases are in the oven whisk together the egg, sugar, cream and lemon zest and juice.
  10. Melt the butter and whisk it into the filling mixture.
  11. Pour the filling into the pastry cases and bake for between 5 and 10 minutes – until the filling is set but still has a bit of wobble.
  12. Leave to cool completely and then enjoy!

tarte au citron

Tonight the bakers will be attempting European cakes, including a Swedish Princess Cake. You can have a look at my blog post about the Pricesstårta here  and see how it compares!