Kugelhopf with Prunes & Armagnac

14 December 2013

Post image for Kugelhopf with Prunes & Armagnac

I have previously professed my love for Kugelhopf in this post. And a quick browse through this website will reveal my admiration for Rachel Khoo and her delightful cookbook, The Little Paris Kitchen.

So it is no coincidence that I have been just as smitten with Rachel Khoo’s new book, My Little French Kitchen, and particularly with her recipe for Kugelhopf with prunes.

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I’m not a big fan of dried fruit in bread and cakes, but I do love prunes, and even more so when they are juicy and plump with liquor. In fact, one of my favourite ways of serving prunes is to soak them in Armagnac before rolling them in a strip of bacon and placing them under the grill until crisp – a wonderful party recipe from Nigella Christmas.

Over the years, I have tried various recipes for Kugelhopf but I think this particular recipe is, hands down, the best I have ever tried. In fact, this Kugelhopf is the best I have ever eaten.

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This version is much like a brioche, though less buttery and less sweet, and which, therefore, makes it very moreish. Unlike some Kugelhopf which need to rest for a few hours, or even a few days, before being consumed, this one can be eaten when still warm from the oven. But it tastes just as lovely over the next few days, if you can manage to make it last for that long; my husband and I demolished this Kugelhopf between ourselves within 24 hours.

I’m looking forward to making this Kugelhopf again. In fact, I might make two next time.

Kugelhopf with Prunes & Armagnac
Recipe adapted from My Little French Kitchen by Rachel Khoo

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Cook’s Notes

Given the butter content, it is easiest to make this Kugelhopf using a stand mixer or a food processor fitted with a dough hook. However, you can, of course, make the dough by hand if you don’t mind a bit of an upper-body workout.

You can substitute the prunes for the same quantity of other dried fruit.

You can also substitute the Armagnac for another liquor. The original recipe calls for Cognac, rum or brandy. If you prefer not to use alcohol, you could instead use fresh orange juice.

The original recipe instructs you to leave the dough in the fridge overnight for the first session of proving. This method often produces a dough with a better texture. I took a shortcut and let the dough rise in a warm oven and found that the texture was perfect.

If you don’t have a Kugelhopf mould, Rachel Khoo suggests making the cake in a loaf tin. I would go one step further and proceed to bake them in a loaf tin as you would make brioche. That is, line the loaf tin with baking paper and scatter the base with whole almonds. After the first session of proving, divide the dough into four pieces and place them side-by-side in the in. Brush with egg wash, cover with a clean teatowel and leave to rise in a warm place as per the recipe. Before baking, use a sharp pair of scissors to make a deep incision in the middle of each section of dough (to create 8 pieces in total), brush with more egg wash and proceed with the recipe.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar 14 December 2013 at 8:20 pm

This is stunning, and looks totally perfect! LOVE!

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Paula 15 December 2013 at 10:18 am

Did you prefer little Paris or little France? This week my book should arrive, and I’m getting nervous :P

Ladurée recipe is awesome, but a little hard, too much time to wait :P
And although an original recipe is great, making at home I prefer something less buttery and sweet, as you say :P Wow, then, we’ll eat the entire Kugelhopf, jaja

I saw the molds in Alsace this summer, silly me, I didn’t buy one, they were so pretty! I’ll have to use the bundt :P

I love the idea of adding Armagnac, otherwise, Marnier or Cognac seem the best choice to replace :P

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eat, little bird 17 December 2013 at 11:51 am

So far, I’m really enjoying My Little French Kitchen and the special twists which Rachel Khoo is so good at creating. I still cook a lot from The Little Paris Kitchen so … it’s hard to say which is better. But I think the first book will always be a bit more special ;-)

If you don’t have a special Kugelhopf mould, you can, of course, use a Bundt tin. In fact, Rachel even suggests using a normal loaf tin.

I think this Kugelhopf recipe is one of the best recipes I have tried this year and it’s worth buying the book just for this recipe!

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Laura Dembowski 15 December 2013 at 10:14 pm

I just made stollen and now I’m craving all kinds of Christmasy yeast breads. Can’t wait to try this!

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eat, little bird 17 December 2013 at 11:53 am

I love Stollen but I have never attempted it at home. A colleague gave me her special recipe so I ought to try it soon.

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Penelope 21 December 2013 at 11:00 pm

Hi there! I discovered you website 2 days ago and just baked this in mini kugelhopf moulds – it is so delicious, rly wonderful recipe (next one will be queen of sheba!)! A warning, though: we southern europeans don’t usually own a stand mixer (I don’t even know anyone who has one) but to do this by hand is quite the struggle! The dough glues to everything and I had to add at least 2 extra tbsp of flour to be able to knead it! Very hard dough to work with… But certainly worth it – mini kugelhopf are the cutest!

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eat, little bird 23 December 2013 at 12:02 pm

Hi Penelope,
I’m so glad that you also enjoyed this recipe! I love the idea of making mini Kugelhopf with this recipe – they must have looked so cute.

And kudos to you for doing everything by hand! My great-aunt makes Kugelhopf by hand, which puts me to shame because my arms get tired after just a few minutes, not to mention the sticky mess. But your Kugelhopf probably tasted that much better with all of that extra love you put into it :-)

I hope you will enjoy the Queen of Sheba.

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Penelope 24 December 2013 at 12:48 am

They were certainly very tasty! And so pretty to look at… Everyone who saw them immediately let out an ‘awww!’. I ended up baking your ‘very good brownies’ (with 70%lindt!) and were choco-perfection! Beautiful crust, nicely done edges and a choco-kick to get everyone in the Christmas mood! One thing I did notice was that it did not sink in the middle (like yours) which I’d have preferred…. I think it was due to accidentally using self-rising flour instead of plain :\ Anyway, double thanks for your perfect recipes and happy Christmas!

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eat, little bird 24 December 2013 at 11:38 am

Oh that brownie recipe is always a winner! I’m so happy to hear that everyone loved them. And it’s good to know that the recipe still turned out well despite using self-raising flour … you will just have to treat yourself to another batch with plain flour to compare ;-) Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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Parisbreakfast 26 December 2013 at 7:28 am

I love how you set these up!
Bravo. I’ve been looking like crazy for a recipe ever since I ate Pierre Hermé’s little kugloph last week…
He uses crystalized sugar on top instead of powdered and it gives a delightful crunch to the cake plus orange water and a TON of butter inside. My picture is here although I decided I better not make this or I would be toast, eating the whole thing myself.. ;))

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eat, little bird 26 December 2013 at 11:33 am

Pierre Hermé’s Kugelhopf sounds like a treat! I think Rachel Khoo’s recipe is rather restrained and in a good way. I can’t wait to eat it again!

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Michaela 28 January 2014 at 6:23 pm

Pierre Herme’s kugloph is one of the food highlights of my trip to Paris in June. Absolutely incredible! I hope to learn how to recreate it. I can’t wait to go back this summer to relive it :)

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eat, little bird 29 January 2014 at 12:26 am

Hi Michaela,
It sounds like I need to try Pierre Hermé’s Kugelopf the next time I am in Paris. I’m always distracted by the macarons, though! Thanks for the tip :-)

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Elissa 4 February 2014 at 4:25 am

Love…. my first encounter with this delicious pretty little cake was at a chateau B&B in the Loire Valley. I’ve been trying to trace down what it was called until now. Where did you get the pretty mold from? Just ordered one from France, but it wasn’t as adorable as yours. Thanks for sharing.

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eat, little bird 4 February 2014 at 5:29 pm

Oh I love the Loire Valley! It’s such a picturesque and romantic part of France, plus the food and wine in that region is just amazing. I actually have a little travel post on the Loire Valley planned … hopefully it will be published soon.

I bought my Kugelhopf mould in Colmar, which is a town in the Alsace region of France. It’s not far from Strasbourg, which is another popular town in the Alsace. These Kugelhopf moulds are quite commonly found in the Alsace region, especially in the touristy shops. The only difficulty is choosing from the many lovely colours and patterns on offer!

If you can’t find these proper Kugelhopf moulds, the non-stick versions work just as well.

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