I write this with trepidation since I know that this post will not be my usual awesomely interesting post. Hmmm… (want to introduce this gently)… ummm… I am not going to talk about “ME” and what “I” did this weekend. (I know you are extremely disappointed) I am going to talk about “ISABELLE” and what “SHE” did… and usually does/makes every Saturday… Kougelhopf. I imagine most of you have already stopped reading since you know relative to me she is going to be really boring. (If she reads this she is going to be annoyed… but that is the cross I must bear… blogging comes with great responsibility… one of which is that you must say the hard things… being 100% honest no matter how hard it is going to be… oh ya… Happy anniversary Isabelle… see I didn’t forget)
My first introduction to kougelhopf was about 16 years ago at our wedding reception in Strasbourg, France. In addition to the “Croquembouche” (pièce montée de pâtisseries croquantes) the banquet tables were filled with these wonderful Alsatian cakes made by friends and family of Isabelle. I am not sure that I had a piece that night but the next morning I snuck into the “leftovers” and stole a piece… and it was love at first bite. (Kind of like my story with Isabelle… ). Kougelhopf is a sweet brioche like cake usually topped with almonds… and for our wedding reception decorated with ribbons tied around the center. This has become more than a “special” occasion dessert in our family. It has become a staple in our diet thanks to Isabelle making one almost weekly and this is also the reason I am often on a diet… (Yes… it is her fault that I cannot stay thin)
My extended family has been introduced to this wonderful cake and have often asked for the recipe. I do not think we have shared the recipe with them…(what special thing would we bring to family parties if everyone could make it) but I will share it with all of you in this post.
- 250 ml of milk
- 20 grams of yeast
- 500 grams of flour
- 110 grams of sugar
- 110 grams of softened butter chopped into small pieces
- 1 pinch of salt
- 2 eggs
- 2 packets of vanilla sugar or 1/2 teaspoon of liquid vanilla mixed with 15 grams of sugar
- almonds one for each indentation in the mold (optional)
- powdered sugar
Step 1: Microwave milk for 1 minute add a small portion to the yeast (make sure it is not too hot and kills the yeast) and put the rest in the mixing bowl. Let yeast and milk rest about 10 minutes while you are mixing the other ingredients.
Step 2: Place the flour, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and salt (any order) into the mixing bowl and mix all together.
Step 3: Add yeast to mixture and mix ingredients until they have formed a ball. This usually takes around 20 minutes but can change based upon humidity. Isabelle mixes this using a kneading hook. She also told me to make sure I warn everyone to start at the lowest setting first and then turn it up to high once ingredients are mixed. Below are some pictures to help you visualize the stages and know when it is ready.
Step 4: Cover dough and let rise for at least 60 minutes. This dough should dramatically increase in size.
Step 5: Knead dough for two minutes then place in a buttered mold. The kougelhopf mold is traditionally glazed earthenware. I have brought four or five of these molds back from our frequent trips to her home town… I imagine you can substitute something else if you do not have an earthenware cake mold… I have seen advertisement for both metal and silicon kougelhopf molds. I also failed to mention traditionally you would add the almonds neatly in each indentation of the mold at the bottom before you add the dough. (we do not because of allergies)
Step 6: Let dough raise for another 60 minutes
Step 7: Cook for 40 minutes at 350º F or 180º C. If you do not have a convection oven… place tin foil over the top after 20 minutes or the top of the dough will burn.
Step 8: Remove from oven and remove from mold… (flipping it over).
Step 9: Sprinkle powdered sugar on top and let cool… (you could add a ribbon tied in a bow around the middle if you want to be “fancy”)
Step 10: ENJOY…
There is a savory version of this with bacon and walnuts that is also a family favorite. I will share that with everyone sometime in the future… (don’t want to loose all of my followers by posting two “Isabelle” things in a row)