Do you remember which cake did Amélie bake in one of the final movie scenes? It was Kouign Amann, a delicious buttery cake from Brittany in France. In the Breton language kouign means cake and amann - butter. The cake in its original version is made without fruit; Amélie topped her cake with plums. And so did I. The cake is made of a few layers of yeasted dough sprinkled with a generous amount of sugar. The sugar caramelizes while baking which makes the cake crusty outside and a little bit moist and caramely inside. It is sweet and calorific, but so delicious. The recipe which I have used comes from David Lebovitz’s blog.
If like me you're using American flour, you might need to reduce its amount slightly or add a little bit more water. I've baked lots of yeasted cakes here in Canada and as well as in Poland, and I can say that in general, the dough made with European flour comes much more loose, than the one made with American flour. Also, I had to remove the cake from the oven quicker as it started to burn. Bake it until the cake is nicely caramelized on the top.
Have a nice Sunday everyone,
1 tbsp active dry yeast (not instant and not rapid rise)
¾ cup tepid water
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sugar
1 stick salted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
extra sugar for rolling out the pastry
2-3 tbsp melted butter
a few plums, sliced (optional)
Dissolve the yeast in the water with a pinch of sugar. Stir. Let stand for 10 minutes until foamy.
Gradually stir in flour and salt. The dough should be soft, but not too sticky (depending on the flour you use, you might need to adjust the amount). Transfer the dough onto a flat surface dusted with flour. Knead for 3 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic and does not stick to your hands.Brush a medium bowl with melted butter. Transfer the dough to the bowl, cover and leave for one hour in a warm place.
Line a dinner plate with plastic wrap. Transfer the dough onto a flat surface dusted with flour. Roll the dough into a 12″ x 18″ rectangle. The dough might be sticky. Do not sprinkle too much flour; use the pastry scraper to help you handle the dough and prevent from sticking to the surface.
Distribute the butter in the center of the rectangle, sprinkle with ¼ cup of sugar.
Fold the dough into thirds: first fold the left side over the center, then fold the right side.
Place on the plastic wrap-lined plate, cover and chill for 1 hour.
Remove the excess flour from the rolling surface. Sprinkle the surface generously with the extra sugar. Transfer the dough onto the sugar-covered surface. Sprinkle the dough with ¼ cup of sugar, press it in a bit with your hands and roll into a rectangle.
Fold the same way as before. Chill in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 425° F. Brush a 9-inch pie dish with melted butter.
Roll the dough into a circle as large as the baking pan. If it's very sticky, sprinkle with some sugar.Transfer the dough into the baking pan. Top with slices of plums (if using). Sprinkle with the remaining ¼ cup of sugar. Drizzle with 1 tbsp melted butter.
Bake until the top of the cake is deeply caramelized (the original recipe says 40-45 minutes, my cake was ready earlier). Leave to cool down for a few minutes, then using a metal spatula remove from the baking pan.