Sunday, 17 July 2016

Cinnamon Kouign Aman


 The smell of warm pastries and cinnamon sugar is the way I woke up Big Pete this Sunday morning! 

Get the coffee and be prepared to be dazzled!

Kouign Aman (pronounced Queen Aman) are a French lacquered pastry from Brittany. I have always wanted to try making them. They do require a bit of effort over 2 days but, they are well worth it. It is like making a typical croissant dough and then when you roll them out the last time you roll them in sugar instead of flour. Once they cool slightly, they are flaky and crunchy and definitely buttery. Kouign Aman literally translates to butter cake.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of warm water
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 envelope of dry yeast
  • 4 cups of all purpose flour 
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 4 sticks of unsalted best quality butter - let come to almost room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups of sugar 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder

Step 1: In a bowl add warm water, honey and yeast. Let bloom for 5 minutes to make sure yeast is active.


Step 2: in a stand mixer with a dough hook add flour, salt and melted butter. Mix for a few seconds then add yeast mixture. Mix until well combined approximately 2 minutes. The dough should literally clean the bowl when it is done.



Step 3: Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.




Step 4: On a large sheet of parchment  spread the butter to form a square which is  8 inches x 8 inches. Fold up and place in fridge to get firm for 30 minutes.


Step 5: on a floured surface roll out dough to a 12 inch square.


My square was too large- if you make it 12- 13 inches it should wrap the butter with very little over lap. 


Step 6: place the cold butter on top of the dough in a diamond fashion, then fold like an envelope to enclose butter.


Step 7: pound the hard butter gently to start rolling without breaking through the dough. Roll out the.  dough to roughly 24 inches x 8 inches. Fold into thirds. Brush off excess flour and pinch ends. The goal is to roll out and fold to evenly distribute butter.


Step 8: wrap in plastic wrap and put in fridge for 20 minutes.


Step 9: roll out again and fold into three again. 


this is your second fold - mark it so you remember. Wrap and pt back in fridge for another 20 minutes. Do this 4 times. After the 4th roll wrap dough and leave in fridge 6-8 hours or overnight.


Step 10: heat the oven to 425 degrees F and remove your dough for the final roll out. This time instead of flour you will roll out the dough in sugar or cinnamon sugar.



Step 11: roll out to a 16 inch x 16 inch square. Cut off edges to make even 4 inch squares (use a clean ruler) 


I used 4 inch cheesecake pans as a mould -you could just place right on parchment paper or you could use a large muffin mould. I prefer the bigger ring as the muffin pan makes the pastry rise up instead of outward. The outward spread makes the pastry more flaky and crunchy.


Step 12: Pinch each point to the center of the square and then take each new point and fold to the center again. I also made a few with just one fold. I like the traditional double version better. 


You can even roll into croissant shapes. Let rise one final time for approx 20 minutes.


Bake approx 20 minutes or until browned and crunchy.



Let cool lightly then dig in! They are very buttery and crunchy...then go do a workout!



















Sunday, 10 July 2016

Chocolate Zucchini Cake


This easy slab cake is delicious and moist and has zucchini and olive oil in it...don't worry you would never know it was anything but chocolate cake!

You will need:

  • 1 stick of unsalted butter (1/2 cup) at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup mild extra virgin olive oil- I strongly encourage you to buy really good quality EVOO and use it lavishly!!
  • 1 tsp vanilla (or maybe 2 if you like!)
  • 1 1/4 cups buttermilk
  • 2 cups finely grated zucchini
  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup dark cocoa
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips or 1 great 80 gram chocolate bar - chopped
  • 2 cups whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp good vanilla extract or vanilla paste
  • 1 tsp gelatin (unflavoured)
  • 3 tbsp cold water
  • 4-5 tbsp vanilla sugar
  • fresh berries 

I used a 3quart/2.8 Litre glass baking dish - its easy to cut on the glass and stores easily in the fridge because the toppping is whipped cream.

Heat oven to 325.

Butter and flour your glass baking dish. Set aside.


Step 1: add room temperature butter and sugars to a stand mixer. If you don't have a stand mixer you can use a hand mixer. Mix until it resembles wet sand.


Step 2: add 3 eggs and mix on medium high for 3 minutes until pale in color.


Step 3: add vanilla ( I make my own) and olive oil and mix until incorporated.

Step 4: add buttermilk and mix well, scrape down bowl at least once.


Step 5: add finely grated zucchini and any liquid that it has into mixer.



Step 6: add dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix with a whisk. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Whisk to blend and make sure cocoa doesn't have any clumps. 



Step 6: add dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix with a whisk. Add flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cocoa. Whisk to blend and make sure cocoa doesn't have any clumps. 

Step 7: chop chocolate (or just use good quality chips)


Step 8: add dry ingredients to wet and  mix on low speed until just incorporated.


Step 9: I like to mix in the chopped chocolate by hand. This also allows me to scrape the bowl a few more times.


Step 10:  spread and level batter in pan.  


Step 11: bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool completely.


Step 12:  Sprinkle gelatin over water and let bloom for 3-4 minutes then microwave for 10 seconds. Whip whipping cream with vanilla and sugar and slowly drizzle the gelatin in to the cream. This will stabilize your topping so this can last a day or 2 without getting runny.


Step 13: spread cream over cooled cake and arrange berries as you like and then cut yourself a big slab!!


and don't forget to share with friends!! feed it to kids you will get some vegetables and olive oil in them and they wont even know it!