Meredith from the Daring Kitchen challenged us this month to make a buttery rich pastry called a Kouign Amann (pronounced “kwee-amahn”). Kouign Amann is a round crusty pastry that originated in Brittany in roughly 1860. It is made with a bread dough that is laminated (layered with butter like a croissant or puff pastry) and then sprinkled with sugar before being cut into squares and baked in muffin tins.
Kouign Amann have actually been on my baking bucket list for some time, so it was good to have a reason to actually try making them. The dough goes together pretty easily. Like croissant dough, a plain dough is rolled out and a block of butter is encased in the dough. The dough/butter package is rolled out into a rectangle and folded like a book, creating multiple layers of butter and dough. This process is repeated 3 times, refrigerating and resting the dough in-between. The dough is rolled out one more time and sprinkled with sugar before folding it. To bake the Kouign Amann, the dough is rolled again into a rectangle and cut into squares. Each square is gathered up at the corners and pinched together to kind of look like a clover (sorry, no pictures of this, my hands were covered in sugar and flour!). These bundles are placed in greased muffin tins and baked until golden brown.
Since the Kouign Amann I’ve tasted have been fairly plain in flavor, I decided to fill mine with some almond paste that I had left over and to use some raspberry sugar (freeze dried raspberries pulsed with sugar) in place of the plain sugar layer. I enjoyed the flavor of both of these in the pastry. Check this one off the bucket list!
Neopolitan Pound Cake is just as fun to eat as Neopolitan ice cream. Did you ever eat those boxed Neoplitan ice cream desserts when you were a kid? Since it came in a box, it was served by cutting a rectangular slice of ice cream (probably through the cardboard?) which was then served on a plate. I got to thinking about Neopolitan ice cream recently as the weather has been warming up. I rarely eat ice cream any more, so I thought it would be fun to make my favorite pound cake loaf into a Neopolitan Pound Cake instead. Just like when I was a kid, I found myself dissecting the dessert to eat the flavors in order of least to most favorite!
Since there is a smidgen of strawberry pink in this recipe to go along with my favorite chocolate section, it works for the We Should Cocoa Challenge this month. Helen at Casa Costello hosts this month and her theme is “pink”.
Author: BakeNQuilt.com adapted from Dorie Greenspan
Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 1 loaf
Neopolitan ice-cream style pound cake in three flavors/layers - vanilla, strawberry and chocolate.
2 cups plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1¼ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1½ sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs (at room temp if possible)
1 tsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract
½ cup whole milk
2.5 oz bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
¼ tsp. espresso powder
¼ cup strawberry jam
2-4 drops red food coloring
powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease and flour an 8½ x 4½ x 2½ inch loaf pan.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Using a mixer, beat the butter on medium until smooth, about 3 minutes. Add the sugar and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes until creamy, smooth and pale.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each. Beat in the vanilla. The batter may look a little curdled.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and alternately add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the milk in 2, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, mixing just until each addition is incorporated.
Divide the batter into three bowls as equally as possible. Add melted chocolate and espresso powder to one bowl and the strawberry jam and coloring to a second bowl, leaving the third bowl plain.
Spread the chocolate batter evenly in the bottom of the prepared pan.
Carefully spread the strawberry layer over the chocolate as evenly as possible, being careful not to mix the two layers together.
Top with the vanilla batter, again spreading as evenly as possible without mixing.
Bake the cake for an hour and then check on it. If it looks like it's getting too brown but needs more baking, cover the bread loosely with a tent of foil. The cake will need 20-30 minutes more to bake, depending on your oven, how dark your baking pan is and whether you're using a glass or metal pan so check on it every 10 minutes or so after the first hour.
The cake is done when a thin knife or cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Transfer the cake pan to a rack to cool for 15 minutes and then remove it from the pan and continue to cool it (right side up) on the rack until it's room temperature.
Dust the top of the cooled cake with powdered sugar before slicing and serving.