This Breton classic may take time to make, but it's not difficult. In fact, most of the required time is down-time, resting the laminated yeasted pastry between each turn. Best-quality salted butter is key here, and an extra sprinkling of sea salt flakes ups the ante.
- 400 gm (2 2/3 cups) bread flour, plus extra for rolling
- 7 gm (1 sachet) dried yeast
- 30 gm melted butter, plus 330gm extra butter
- 120 gm caster sugar, plus extra for rolling and dusting
- 1Mix flour, yeast and 1 tsp salt in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Combine melted butter with 280ml lukewarm water in a jug and gradually add to flour mixture, knead on low speed to form a soft dough (1-2 minutes), then Increase to medium speed, and knead until smooth and elastic (3-4 minutes). Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover and stand until doubled in size (1 hour).
- 2Meanwhile, pound extra butter with a rolling pin between 2 pieces of baking paper until malleable, form into an even 14cm square and refrigerate. Remove from fridge about 10 minutes before rolling.
- 3Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll to 20cm square. Place butter at centre of dough so each side of the butter faces a corner of dough. Fold over corners of dough to enclose butter like an envelope, pinch to seal, then roll to a 20cm x 45cm rectangle. With a short side nearest you, fold down top third of dough, then fold up the bottom third to cover. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate to rest for at least 1 hour. Repeat rolling, folding and resting twice more.
- 4Butter a 12-cup muffin tray or twelve 6cm-tall, 7.5cm-diameter ring moulds and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Lightly dust work surface with extra sugar, place dough on top, scatter with more sugar and roll again to a 20cm x 45cm rectangle. Sprinkle with half the caster sugar and a little salt if you like, then fold as before. Roll to a 40cm x 50cm rectangle, trim edges and dust with remaining sugar. Cut out twelve 12cm squares. Bring corners of each square to the centre (to resemble a four-leaf clover), pinch to seal, then place in prepared moulds, scatter with a little extra sugar and a pinch of sea salt flakes, cover loosely with plastic wrap and stand in a warm place until slightly puffed (30-40 minutes).
- 5Preheat oven to 200C and bake pastries until dark golden brown and caramelised (30-35 minutes). Stand for 5 minutes before carefully turning out onto a wire rack (be careful, there will be hot caramel in the base of tins). Serve warm or at room temperature; or once completely cool, store in an airtight container. These are best eaten within a day of making.
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