Famous French pastry chef in the United States, Dominique Ansel imported and first began popularizing the kouign-amann seven years ago. “We started offering kouign-amanns at the opening of the store,” he says, referring to his New York bakery, Dominique Ansel Bakery. “It was unknown before. We helped Americans discover it,” he recounts. This Breton pastry (from Brittany, in other words) is made from butter, flour, yeast and sugar has now found its footing in the United States and has gained much widespread popularity (This weekend, The New York Times is leading their Cooking App, with a Kouign-Amann). From Ansel’s signature DKA to a good old-fashioned kouign-amann served in your neighborhood bakery, this pastry should be at the top of your list for trying (that is, if you’re not already buying one weekly).
Here’s the complete and detailed recipe of Ansel’s signature DKA:
MAKE BUTTER BLOCK
MAKE FIRST THREE FOLDS
MAKE FOURTH FOLD
Sprinkle sugar in a thin, even layer on the work surface (as if you were flouring the work surface, but using sugar instead). Lay out the dough on the sugar. Starting with the seam of the dough on the right, roll out the dough once more, vertically from top to bottom, to a rectangle about 24 by 10 inches (60 by 25 cm) and 1⁄4 inch (6 mm) thick. Sprinkle a thin, even layer of sugar on the top. Repeat the letter fold. (Work quickly when you add the sugar, as it will start to draw out moisture from the dough and make the surface wet.)
ROLL, SHAPE, AND BAKE
SERVING INSTRUCTIONS: Enjoy at room temperature. If you are looking for more adventure, slice a DKA in half horizontally and add a scoop of ice cream to make an ice cream sandwich.
STORAGE INSTRUCTIONS: DKAs should be consumed within 6 hours of baking, but can keep at room temperature about two days, or 2 weeks frozen.