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  • Writer's pictureSusan Welsh

Long live the Kouign-Amann!

Foodies and trend-spotters from New York to California announced the Kouign-Amann's "moment" years ago. Given that the birth of this Breton classic was somewhere around 1865, when a baker from the French region of Brittany attempted to save a failed bread dough by adding sugar and butter, it's reasonable to say this pastry may have an everlasting impact on the American pantheon of Viennoiserie.

I tasted my first Kouign-Amann at the Metropolitan Bakery in Philadelphia soon after it became the breakout star of pastry nationwide. I experienced a temporary loss of words as the crunchy, carmelized, heavenly flakes of buttery pastry melted in my mouth, furiously firing off signals in my brain, flooding my body with dopamine.

Last summer, during a trip to Boston, I had the great fortune to savor the masterful ones being turned out by Joanne Chang at Flour Bakery and Cafe. One bite and there's no question as to why she has dubbed this pastry, "my favorite thing ever". When the 2016 James Beard winner for Outstanding Baker speaks, I listen.

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