Sugar Rush: Kouign Amann from Roman Candle Baking Company in Portland, OR


[Photograph: Kirsten Saladow]

It sounds like a joke, but the first time I tried a Roman Candle pastry was on the Fourth of July. When I peeked into the Stumptown pastry case, there was an army of new pastries all from the-fresh-from-the oven spot from Stumptown founder Duane Sorenson. Amongst danishes and zucchini breads, the treat that stood out was a glossy beauty adorned with chunky salt crystals—the Kouign Amann ($3).

This pastry is made up of several different elements that complement one another. First, there's the outside shell, which is caramelized and crisp, and a little reminiscent of the glazed crossiants I had in Italy years ago. The inside takes you straight to France, with paper-thin layers of buttery pastry. I think the hunks of salt, which on one tasting were inside the pastry, and the other time were sprinkled on top, are what takes this version of the Kouign Amann straight to pastry heaven.

Like any good kouign amann, flakes of pastry burst away as you take each bite. In fact they're so good that they might fly off and cover someone's sundress, and she still might eat a few of these beautifully crunchy, salty bites (okay all of them).

Roman Candle Baking Company

3377 SE Division St. Portland, OR 97201 (map)