Saturday, February 13, 2010

Kouign Amann

Before we went to visit in Bretagne, we were having dinner with my sister and brother in law.  As we were speaking, the conversation turned to the trip.  My partner said that we would bring back a Kouign Amann.  Everyone at the table had wistful looks on their faces at the mere mention of this.  Of course, myself being the odd one out, I had no idea what it was.  There was a brief discussion of how wonderful it was, but eventually I had to interject, and ask what on earth this was.

Before I continue, this is apparently an exceedingly difficult thing to pronounce.  The way I heard it pronounced, it sounded like something from the Lord of the Rings.  (Apparently, when said incorrectly, it sounds like the Elven language, Quenya, with the word "man" attached.)  However correctly pronounced, I apologize in advance for my horrible phonetic transcription, it sounds something like Kwen amahn.  There's a dangerous tendency for an engma, to mysteriously appear in it.  So this little bugger is pretty hard to pronounce. 

Now, as for what it is, I will use my brother in law's explanation as it amuses me the most.  As he told me, Think of it as a cake that's 80% butter, 20% sugar, and enough flour to hold it together.  So my first thought is, "how can this possibly taste good?"  I am immediately thinking of a custard like cake, only no eggs or gelatin added.  I also question this because my partner's family are fairly health conscious individuals.  Although they may have a strong love of Galette Des Rois, this just seemed a bit too much.  Of course, they said this is the kind of thing you only have one piece of.  I still found this idea amusing, as I could out eat anyone at the table of course. 

Additionally, there was a quick discussion of where exactly we would be buying one.  My sister in law said that it would be exceedingly hard to find.  She said it was a very hard cake to make right, and it probably wouldn't be readily available.  My brother in law said it would most likely be available in the grocery store but more likely in a bakery.  So we had a plan, and we would figure out how things are. 

When we first arrive, we ask my mother in law where would be the best place to get one.  She said that there was a bakery in the next village over that had received a gold medal for baking them.  So with that question answered,  We continue our visit to Bretagne, have a great time, and on the second to last day, we decide we need to buy the Kouign Amann.  So we go to the bakery, in this little village that I had been in before.  When my partner and I came through the first time, I had actually just assumed it was nothing more than a ghost town with a church.  It turns out we had just come in the wrong side.  There were houses, a bakery of course, schools, etc.  So I was rather shocked myself.  We picked up the last kouign amann, had it wrapped up, and headed back. 

We made it back fine, and presented our cake, victoriously!  It looked very similar to other French cakes I had seen before.  It was matte on the top, with a little shine to it from the sugar.  The top was very caramelized, and sugary.  It was wonderful I have to say.  The inside was pretty much a sponge of butter.  It's not a bad cake, but not something of which I am a huge fan.  The top was wonderful, but the inside, could have been better.

I was satisfied with the outcome, and glad to see that everyone enjoyed it.  I don't know really what to make of it myself.  After I knew how to spell it, I had assumed that almonds would be involved because of the end.

I also should probably apologize for the massive update hole.  I let things get away from me, among the things that distracted me was a trip to London.  I was debating writing one on England, but well, there were too many things and not enough time.  Although I will say this one thing; way out, seriously? 

Hopefully I'll have more to rant about soon! :-)

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