The first time I visited Belinda Leong’s b. Patisserie I was on a mission; try the kouign amann (pronounced “queen amann”). My eyes wandered around the long gently curved pastry case past croissants, macarons, cakes and tarts until they finally landed on the confectionary, and I breathlessly asked, “Are those THE ones?”
“Yes,” she responded in a knowing way.
And lucky for me a batch had just come out of the oven. (I was later told by my brother who was with me that it was one of the strangest verbal exchanges he had witnessed between two people.)
A moment later, I was presented with my very own kouign amann. The golden exterior glistened and with its neatly tucked in corners it looked like a present. As I cut through the delicate pastry layers I could still feel the heat radiating from it.
But the transcendent moment happened when I took my first bite. The dough is layered with sugar and butter, which creates a light, flakey pastry juxtaposed with moments of crispy caramelization that is striking.
Leong’s kouign amann proves that execution is king or queen, if you may. Desserts don’t need overly complex flavor combinations, because the true genius lies in simple flavors married with superior execution.