Saturday, March 8, 2014

Pastry and Pups

This was the post I wrote before we lost Barkley, with some photos I'd recently taken.   I hesitated to post, but thought you might enjoy the recipes and the photo of him with the "But Mom, he's eating the last one!", expression.  But with a bat phone that went off in the wee hours, I thought it might be a good morning for this.   I may be on the road a while, but have posts saved to come up here and there so please stop in and say hello.  It does help.
 Best - B.

From my laptop on the dining room table, the sudden sound of Parisian music and a heavily accented male voice:

"It's a BIG sausage, very rustic."

Partner in Grime walks in the room, grinning and says "what ARE you watching?"

It was a video and recipe from Jean-Marie Blanchot, a pâtissier from Brittany, prepares the classic kouign-amann, a flaky, buttery cake to die for.

You can find them up in Canada, but no place anywhere near Hoosierville. So I was going to have to make my own

Kouign-amann also known as a Breton cake, is a round crusty cake made with bread dough containing layers of butter and sugar folded in (sort of ike puff pastry but less layers).  It's baked slowy until the butter puffs up the doubh and the sugar and sugar/butter coating  caramelizes and becomes crunchy and sweet, while the thin layers of cake inside absorb the buttery sweetness, making the interior soft and tender.  The name derives from the Breton words for cake ("kouign") and butter ("amann"), the recipe being around from about 1860.  Some are large, the size of a round cake pan, others, like mine, are made with individual squares of the dough, corners foldered up for perfect hand sized treats.
With a lot of bitingly cold days and a couple weekends that I didn't go home as Barkley had vet visits and the cold was bothering him, I used the big island in the crash pad kitchen and made a bunch, freezing it, to rise and bake later.  Croissants I make every few month as Partner loves them with coffee in the morning  The Breton cake was a new adventure.  It requires fairly advanced pastry skills, but thanks to the internet there are some recipes with detailed instructions to take some of the mystery out of it  There is no EASY method.  But there is really something satisfying about pulling a perfectly caramelized mélange of butter and sugar and salt out of the oven and tearing into the flaky layers while it's still so hot it almost burns your mouth (it does make up for those weekday breakfasts of low fat cereal and an apple)

Here's the underside of it - mmmmm caramelization!

My version was a blend of two recipes, and I'm not going to try and recreate it here without providing two disclaimers, several medieval curses and a weapon but if you have a hankering to make wonderful pastry, if only once, check out  Patisserie by Christophe Felder, and David Lebovitz's Kouign Amann recipe (the top of which, before baking, I dusted with just aextra  bit of vanilla sugar mixed with cinnamon).

If you want a pastry that' slightly easier, (you know, like the Bond Snake Slayer has slightly less recoil than Smith and Wesson 500) there are  some others which were also thawed and baked.

  • Croissants

  • OR

  • Croissants Pain au Chocolate

  • Mom!  Dad! - Veuillez donner le chien certains Pâtisserie française. Avec un femme caniche!

    (And yes, he got to eat some of the plain croissants bits.)


    1. I'll never get over how expressive that face is, and how much intelligence is shining out. But for that bread, I'd beg too!

    2. I can't imagine how painful it is for you to post those kinds of pics up for us.

      Thank you for the effort.

    3. Croissants - You are speaking MY language!
      There used to be a chain cafeteria in the Phoenix area named Caf' Casino.
      O M G !
      Even though it was cafeteria style, when you entered, directly in front of you were freshly baked, huge croissants. Crispy almost brown on the outside.
      You could get beef bourguignon and such further down the line, but I always went for the croissants.
      (Thank the gods I have single-malt to assuage my cravings) :-P


    4. The look on Barkley face is priceless. I will miss him like all of the the animals that have come into my world. Hope you are well.


    5. The look on Barkley face is priceless. I will miss him like all of the the animals that have come into my world. Hope you are well.


      PS I neither know if this gets posted the first time so I repost it. My apologies fro the duplicate.

    6. You need to add a disclaimer.."Caution...Your Waistline Will Expand Due To Recipes Posted Here"

    7. Oh, to be able to craft such tasty breads! Mine own breads taste fine, but are not works of art...more like peasant bread.

    8. Great pic, and a good way to remember Barkley! :-)

    9. Rev Paul - he was a really smart dog, and the looks he would get. . I am so glad I took so many photos of him.

      Jennifer - he knew how to work it, too.

      Jay - it is, but he was a part of a lot of peoples lives, and I know they miss him too. A photo was pulled up last night of him in the living room, all alone by the Christmas tree waiting for Santa Paws to bring him his little stocking of treats, and tears were shed by both of us.

      armlaughing - I've not had any good store bought ones, and the only bakery that has good ones is too far to drive regularly, so these are handy to have.

      Hat Trick - thanks, it will be a long one.

      Dennis - thank you for that.

      Rob - days like that make up for the mornings you have the "healthy offering" at a hotel which is really just pine cones and gruel at most places.

      Monkeywrangler - it takes a little practice but so worth it. I bet you could craft a decent one with a whole wheat blend.

    10. I gained three reading this, but it was worth it to see that great photo of the Barkster.

    11. Mais Mamman! J'ai tres tres faim!

      Looks delectable, as always and it's lovely to see his sweet face. Godspeed, Bridg.


    I started this blog so the child I gave up for adoption could get to know me, and in turn, her children, as well as share stories for a family that lives too far away. So please keep it friendly and kid safe. Posts that are only a link or include an ad for an unknown business automatically to to SPAM..