I first heard mention of them in 2009 while attending culinary school. My sister was helping me develop a panna cotta recipe for my final exam. While chatting over my steaming pots bubbling on the stove, she told me about David Lebovitz’s 2005 version – and all 56 pages of comments and notes. She saw the recipe as our “Baking Everest”. We would hold each other’s ropes as we slowly scaled a new culinary summit. I had made a laminated dough before, but my sister, a woman of exactitude, had read all 56 pages and wanted to incorporate each tip and hint into the final recipe. The pastry project? Kouign Amann.
Rather than forgetting all about the project, Kouign Amann began popping up again and again. I read about Romina Rasmussen and her famous version at Les Madeleines in Utah. In 2012, Food and Wine named Kouign Amann “pastry of the year”. They began showing up on menus and in pastry shops and finally – in the April 2014 of Bon Appetit – four pages of step by step directions of what the magazine calls “the French pastry du jour”. Pastry du jour indeed – I can’t pick up a food magazine without some reference to them. I’m convinced Kouign Amann will soon reach Cronut status.