I’ve been neglecting my house and the grounds surrounding it. Not that I live in a palatial estate. Just haven’t mowed in a while. Or weeded. Or done any sort of maintenance, for that matter.
I figured it could wait until Spring Break. So I let it. When I mowed, though, I realized that something was amiss. The yard seemed swampier than usual, even after a heavy rain. (let’s hear it for Houston’s thick clay soil, everyone!)
Yeah. The main sewer line was backed up. So I crossed my fingers and hoped that it was just from the rains. But this morning, alas! It was still there. Soggy. Stinky. Gross. A plumber must be called to repair a collapsed concrete line built about 60 years ago. As luck would have it, I apparently get a teacher discount, and while I paid a very reasonable rate, I won’t be taking any trips anywhere for quite a while.
I’m talking nowhere. Not even for a lovely spring breaky brunch. *sigh*
What to do but bake something tasty? And buttery. And caramelly. Enter the beautiful Kouign Amann, that Breton pastry of legend. Say it like this: Queen Aman. I first saw it on an episode of The Best Thing I Ever Ate and knew that this pastry and I were destined to meet. It looked wonderful and the host gushed over its attributes. Flaky. Gorgeous. Fabulous.
Plus, it’s a yeast dough with many steps, so, yeah. Plenty to keep my mind off the fellows digging up my yard.
I began with David Lebovitz’s recipe, making sure that the “warm” water was between 100 and 110 degrees — this has been my downfall many a time with yeasty breads, so I was very careful. Used black sea salt. It gives it a weird, pocked appearance that I’m going to call charm.
Now, I follow his directions to a T, making the dough and letting it rest and hour and rolling it out and covering it with the good butter (Kerrygold is superb. Or Plusgras. Don’t skimp) and some sugar (vanilla-infused here, y’all!).
Yep. I follow that recipe right up to the folding part. Because you’re going to want to add a step. One that I saw on that show. One that will make you want to make this RIGHT NOW.
So you’ve folded your dough over neatly in a little tri-fold. Now. Take your rolling pin and beat that butter like a drum. Whack it into the dough. Like a red-headed step-child. (I’m from the south. It’s okay to use that particular idiom.) Beat it like you’re the University of Texas and it’s A&M. (HAH!) Seriously, though. Smack it.
Then roll it out and add another layer of sugar and do the tri-foldy thing again and now continue with Mr. Lebovitz’s recipe.
You should have a lovely stack of dough and sugar and butter sitting pretty on your plate. To rest for an hour.
Then into the pie plate with MORE butter and sugar…
…to caramelize after 45 minutes into this:
A buttery, crispy, oozy pan of amazing that (almost) makes up for the gigantuous home repair price tag.
I can’t write about the lovely aromas coming from the oven. I just can’t. There are no words. It’s heaven.
Hell will be waiting for it to cool. And I’m off to do that.