A dessert celebrating malty flavours

A dessert celebrating malty flavours

Green Pickled Peaches
Chris Chen

Some classic French elements feature in this recipe, chosen for their malt flavours: sugar caramelising on pastry; vanilla bean in combination with egg and milk; and, of course, malt itself as an ingredient.The kouign-aman (caramelised leavened pastry) is a highly involved piece of work. I am fond of this pastry because of the way the sugar caramelises during the baking and how it all comes together from such a messy sticky process.

For the kouign-aman


Quantity Ingredient
275g strong flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
5g dried yeast
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, melted but not separated
225g unsalted butter, at the same texture as the dough (pliable but not soft)
225g caster sugar, pl us extra for dusting

For poaching the pears

Quantity Ingredient
600g sugar
200ml filtered water
500ml chardonnay
6 small corella pears, peeled

For the malt meringue powder

Quantity Ingredient
60g icing sugar
20g malt powder
160g egg whites, (about 4 egg whites)
100g caster sugar

For the praline pastry cream

Quantity Ingredient
275ml milk
1/2 vanilla bean, split with seeds scraped
4 egg yolks
75g caster sugar
20g cornflour
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
powdered praline, (see note)
2 teaspoons white rum


  1. Make the kouign-aman:
  2. Put the flour, salt and yeast in an electric mixer with a dough hook attached. Start to mix slowly and gradually add the melted butter and then 170 ml water. Keep mixing until the dough comes together and is elastic (it springs up when a finger is pressed into it). Put in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, then a tea towel and leave for 1 hour.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle that is 1.5 cm thick. If the dough is sticking to the rolling pin or work surface, avoid using a lot of extra flour, and, if you must, brush off the excess. Place the block of butter between two sheets of plastic wrap and roll into a shape that will cover two-thirds of the length of the block of dough, leaving a margin of 2.5 cm on the three outside edges. Remove the plastic wrap and sit the butter in place on the dough. Sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the butter. Fold the outside margins over the butter and then fold the butterfree end of dough over the butter. Again sprinkle a tablespoon of sugar over the surface of the dough. Now fold again to cover the exposed third of butter and dough (so, fold it up as you would a business letter). Roll out into a rectangle that is 1.5 cm thick again and fold in three, repeating the sprinkling of sugar over the surface of the dough. Cover with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator for about an hour.
  4. Roll out once again into a rectangle that is 1.5 cm thick. Sprinkle another couple of tablespoons of the sugar over the dough. Press the sugar into the dough and fold a third of the pastry over. Sprinkle a couple more tablespoons of the remaining sugar over the unsugared surface, then fold the last third of dough over this. Wrap once again in plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220°C. Butter a 23 cm square tart or cake tin and dust it with sugar. Roll the dough out to 40 x 30 cm and roll into a cylinder. Cut along the length of the cylinder, gather the pastry, cut side up, and place into the tin. Scatter the remaining sugar on the pastry. Put in the oven and reduce the temperature to 180°C. Bake for 40–45 minutes until the top is deep golden brown from the caramelisation of the sugar and the bottom is well cooked and golden. Remove from the tin while hot and cool on a rack.
  5. Poach the pears:
  6. Combine the sugar, water and wine in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Add the pears and simmer for 30 minutes. Leave to cool in the syrup.
  7. Make the malt meringue powder:
  8. Preheat the oven to 120°C and line two baking trays with paper. Sift the icing sugar and malt powder together, then put to one side. Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the caster sugar and continue beating until glossy stiff peaks form. Fold in the icing sugar and malt mixture. Pipe meringues of 4 cm diameter onto the trays. Bake for about 1 hour until dry but not coloured. When cool, grate on a microplane to yield 4 tablespoons.
  9. Make the praline pastry cream:
  10. Heat the milk with the vanilla pod and seeds to just below boiling point. Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until thick and pale. Stir in the cornflour. Whisk the heated milk into the yolk mixture and discard the vanilla bean. Pour the custard into a clean saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Simmer for 1½ –2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter. Cover the surface with plastic wrap to prevent a skin forming and leave to cool. Measure the volume of the powdered praline in a cup and mix with an equal amount of pastry cream. Stir in the rum and then cover and keep refrigerated. Beat just before using, so that it is pliable.
  11. Assemble the dish:
  12. Cut everyone a slice of kouign-aman and place, cut side down, on each plate. Add a few small spoonfuls of the praline pastry cream, a poached pear and a sprinkling of malt meringue powder.

To make powdered praline

  • To make the powdered praline, scatter 80 g of toasted almonds over a sheet of lightly oiled foil. Melt 125 g of sugar in a pan and cook without stirring until it caramelises and turns golden brown. Pour over the almonds and leave to cool and harden. Break up into smallish pieces and then process to a fine powder.
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