Dominique Ansel: Secret Recipes from the World Famous New York Bakery
I already know the first recipe from this book I am going to try: Dominique’s kouign amann, which is so famous that it simply goes by the name DKA. The DKA was the first kouign amann I ever tasted, when I visited the Dominique Ansel Bakery in New York about a week before it opened in 2011 (disclosure: I know the chef). Although I bake my own version of the traditional pastry from Brittany, France, I’m happy to switch over to Ansel’s, now that I have the recipe for it.
Ansel worked at the Fauchon bakery in France before moving to New York, in 2006, to be pastry chef of the then Michelin three-star restaurant Daniel. He opened Dominique Ansel Bakery in 2011 and although the bakery was popular from the start, it wasn’t until 2013 – when Ansel created a croissant-doughnut hybrid, called the cronut – that he became world famous. Even now, customers start queuing outside his store every day at 6.30am (and earlier) so they can get their hands on a cronut when the bakery opens at 8am (they sell out fast).
But Ansel is no one-hit wonder. He frequently updates classic recipes and even embraces some American desserts. Of the DKA, he writes, “Over time, I modified my recipe to decrease the butter and sugar, which resulted in a lighter texture.” (Not by much, though: the recipe still uses 364 grams of butter, about 360 grams of sugar and 472 grams of flour.)
Other desserts that he’s changed or updated include the souffle, which he bakes in a thin brioche crust, rather than in ramekins; the Mont-Blanc, where he substitutes sweet potato for the harder-to-find French chestnuts; and the Paris-Brest, the pate a choux-based ring-shaped pastry (it’s said to resemble a wheel), which Ansel remade as the Paris-New York (in honour of his adopted city) and flavoured with peanut butter, caramel and chocolate.
The recipes are divided by difficulty: beginner, intermediate and advanced. They include mini madeleines, cannelé de Bordeaux, popcorn chouquettes, black and blue pavlova, frozen s’mores, Iberico and mahon cheese croissant, the magic souffle, DKA and the at-home cronut.
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