Friday, January 17, 2014

Kugelhopf with prunes... as promised


The first snow of the season blanketed Europe... My sister sent me this photo to remind me of how it looks like to wake up to this beautiful white surprise :) That same day we got the first rainfall in California, and I was very happy! That very same evening, it was snowing in my kitchen. 







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The idea for the kugelhopf came to me while waiting in line at the grocery store and overlooking the magazines on the rack, one of them had the photo of kugelhopf on the front page in a very festive holiday setting. :) I have also seen the recipe for the kugelhopf few days before that in my new cookbook by Rachel Khoo - "Little French Kitchen", the very same cookbook that has inspired several recipes posted recently. That is how I have decided to give kugelhopf a try and here you'll find the recipe adopted from Rachel Khoo's cookbook. 
The texture of this kugelhopf reminded me of the strudel, very soft and airy. 



I have used this kugelhopf mold, or a regular loaf tin will do too. 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 1/2 cups of strong white bread flour
  • 3Tbsp of sugar
  • 1tsp table salt
  • 1tsp instant dried yeast
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2.5oz of butter, softened and cut into small cubes, plus 1Tbsp for greasing
  • optional: 8-10 blanched almonds, for decoration
  • 100g of pitted soft prunes
  • * optional: cognac, rum or brandy (if using very dry prunes or other dried fruit); with dry prunes I recommend using Grand Marnier 
  • 1 egg mixed with 2Tbsp of milk

Directions:

Mix together flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Make a well in the middle and pour milk and a beaten egg. If you have stand mixer, good for you! Otherwise, you need to use some elbow grease. Mix the dough until it is soft, smooth and elastic (about 7 minutes using stand mixer on medium speed). Add softened butter and continue to mix for another 5 minutes until the butter is all incorporated. At this point the dough will be slightly sticky. Transfer it to a larger clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it sleep in the fridge overnight or until it is doubled in size. 
Grease the kugelhopf mold with the remaining butter. If you are using a loaf tin, line it with baking paper instead of greasing it. You can place the almond pieces in each of the kugelhopf's grooves as it will look nice when you flip the kugelhopf. 
Drain the prunes of any excess liquid (* if you were soaking them) and lightly knead them into the dough, keeping kneading to the minimum. 
Shape the dough into the ball and poke a whole in the middle so that you can place it in the kugelhopf mold. Brush with egg wash and cover with clean damp kitchen towel or a plastic wrap. Leave it somewhere warm to rise to double its size. 
Preheat the oven to 390F. Brush the kugelhopf with more egg wash and bake for 30min, or until the inserted skewer comes out clean. If the top is browning too quickly as it is baking, you can cover it loosely with foil. 
Remove from the oven and let it cool 10min before turning out on a wire rack.
Dust with powdered sugar just before serving.  

* If you are soaking the prunes, let them soak overnigh so that they become very juicy.
   You can also soak them in orange juice, if you prefer not to use alcohol. 

Bon appetit,
Miki

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