Kugelhopf from Alsace

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Kugelhopf, Kougelhof, Kouglof… there are many names to describe what is certainly Alsace’s most famous cake which depend on local germanic dialect. A Kugelhopf is also prepared in neighbouring regions of Southern Germany, Switzerland and Austria.


This recipe gives a ‘soft’ variant of the cake: spongy and moist it melts in your mouth when fresh. The Alsatian tradition is to eat a much ‘dryer’ Kugelhopf, which some locals dip in their morning coffee. In Alsace, the briochy cake is often traditionally prepared for Christmas.


Ingredients

  • 500g plain flour
  • 120g caster sugar
  • 120g unsalted butter – soft (room temperature)
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 250ml milk
  • A little vanilla sugar (1 sachet) or a couple of drops of vanilla extract (optional)
  • salt
  • 1 sachet of yeast
  • almonds (unsalted) – about 30
  • sultanas soaked in rum

About the mould:

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The dough that you will get from the recipe will make two average-sized Kugelhopfs.It is best to use ceramic moulds, such as those found in Alsace, however, you could use a similar mould in silicone or aluminium if you can’t get a ceramic one.


Method

  • Warm the milk and melt the butter with it.
  • Mix the flour, sugar, salt and add the dried yeast.
  • Make a well and then add the milk and butter and the eggs.
  • Mix until the mixture comes away from the side of the bowl.
  • Leave to rise for several hours with a clean dry tea towel over the top.
  • Once the dough has rise, beat the dough again to incorporate more air. Drain the sultanas and roll them in a little flour, then carefully mix them through the dough.
  • Butter the moulds and put an almond in each hole.
  • Put the mixture into each mould (do not overfill as some room is needed when it rises a final time).
  • Leave to rise again for several more hours with the tea towel on the top.
  • Once the dough has risen, cook in an oven at 180 (150 if fan assisted) for about 50-60 minutes. You do not need to pre-heat the oven – it should be cool when you put them in.
  • When you take them out leave them to cool a little (20-30 mins) and then carefully tip the mould up and release the Kugelhopf.
  • Decorate with icing sugar.

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