A kugelhopf is a yeasted bread, similar to a French brioche, which is perfect at breakfast or morning tea.
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.
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.
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.
For a printable recipe, please scroll down.
Kugelhopf with Prunes & Armagnac
- Prep Time: 30 mins plus proving time
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 44 minute
- Yield: Serves 4-6
- 70 g (2 1/2 oz) soft pitted prunes
- 50 ml (1/2 cup) Armagnac
- 300 g (11 oz) strong white flour
- 40 g (1 1/2 oz) sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine salt
- 5 g instant dried yeast
- 1 egg
- 125 ml (1/2 cup) milk
- 70 g (2 1/2 oz) butter, softened
- 1 egg lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons milk
- whole almonds
- Soak the prunes in the Armagnac, preferably overnight if they are really dry. Otherwise, soaking them for as long as it takes for the dough to rise should be sufficient.
- Chop the prunes into 1 cm pieces before or after soaking.
- Place the flour, sugar, salt and yeast into the bowl of an electric stand mixer and attach the dough hook.
- Add the egg and milk, and mix on medium speed for 6-8 minutes, or until the dough is soft, smooth and elastic in texture.
- With the motor still running, add the butter a bit at a time.
- Mix on medium speed for 5 minutes until the butter is thoroughly incorporated into the dough.
- Place the dough into a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with a clean towel and leave it somewhere warm until it has doubled in size (about 1 hour). Alternatively, you can place the bowl in the fridge and let the dough rise slowly overnight. (See Kitchen Notes below)
- Meanwhile, generously butter a kugelhopf mould, about 20 cm or 8 inches wide.
- Place a whole almond in each of the grooves at the bottom of the kugelhopf mould.
- When the dough has doubled in size, punch it back lightly to knock out the air.
- Drain the prunes and lightly knead them into the dough.
- Shape the dough into a ball and poke a hole through the middle. Place the dough into the mould, and make sure that the middle of the mould is visible.
- Lightly brush the dough with some egg wash.
- Cover with a clean teatowel and, again, leave it somewhere warm to double in size (about 45 minutes). (See Kitchen Notes below)
- Once the dough has doubled in size, preheat the oven to 200°C (390°F).
- Brush the dough with some more egg wash and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- If the kugelhopf is browning too quickly during the baking time, cover it loosely with some foil.
- Remove the kugelhopf from the oven and leave it to cool in the mould for 10 minutes before turning it out on a wire rack.
- Serve warm or cool at breakfast or morning tea.
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’m an impatient person and prefer to let my dough rise in an oven at the lowest possible heat, around 50°C (120°F).
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.
- Serving Size: 6
- Calories: 422
- Sugar: 17.8g
- Sodium: 439.6mg
- Fat: 13.5g
- Carbohydrates: 65.8g
- Fiber: 1.4g
- Protein: 7.6g
- Cholesterol: 63.4mg