Kouign Amann Pastries

The sweet and salty darling of the pastry set.

What is the bronzed, round, impossible-to-pronounce pastry that’s lately popping up in the finer artisanal bakeries? Kouign amann (pronounced queen-ya-mahn) is a Breton pastry that has it all: tons of butter, sweet caramelization and a good bit of salt, like a salted caramel in pastry form. Honoré, in Ballard, makes a sensational version, with a crackling caramelized exterior and a rich buttery center. But I prefer the version at Le Rêve on Queen Anne, where the flakier exterior on top is crisp, the bottom is salty and crunchy, and the middle is soft and buttery beyond belief. When Crumble & Flake opens on Capitol Hill, there’ll be a third contender for the crown.