Rachel Khoo's version of sweetened bread flavoured with prunes and almonds, and baked in a ring-shaped mould.
- 300 g strong white bread flour
- 40 g caster sugar
- 1 tsp table salt
- 5 g (2 tsp) instant dried yeast
- 125 g milk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 70 g soft butter, cut into small cubes
- 70 g soft, ready-to-eat stoned prunes
- 50 ml cognac, rum or brandy (optional, if using very dry prunes) (see Note)
- 8-10 blanched almonds for decoration (optional)
- 1 egg, plus 2 tbsp milk, for the egg wash
- 1 tbsp soft butter, for greasing the mould
- 1 x 20 cm kugelhopf mould, or 1 x 900 g loaf tin, greased and lined with baking paper
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Makes one 20 cm kugelhopf
Resting time minimum 6 hours, but best overnight
Mix together all the dry ingredients in the bowl of a mixer fitted with a dough hook and make a well in the middle. Add the milk and egg to the centre. Switch on to a medium speed for 6–8 minutes. The dough will become soft, smooth and elastic. Add the softened butter bit by bit and continue to mix for another 5 minutes until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape the bowl down periodically with a spatula to insure all the butter is mixed in. Once the dough is formed (it should be slightly sticky), decant into a large clean bowl. Cover with cling film and leave in the fridge until it has doubled in size (ideally overnight).
Butter the kugelhopf mould. If using a loaf tin, line it with baking paper. Place one almond into each groove at the bottom of the mould. If using a loaf tin, just scatter loosely.
Once the dough has doubled in size, remove from the fridge. Drain the prunes of any excess liquid (if they were soaked in cognac) and knead into the dough, but keep the kneading to a minimum. Shape the dough into a ball and poke a hole in the middle. Tuck it neatly in the mould making sure the middle of the mould pokes through the dough. Brush with egg wash. If using a loaf tin, form the dough into a sausage the length of the tin. Pop into the tin and brush with egg wash. Cover with a damp clean tea towel or cling film and leave to rise somewhere warm until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Brush the kugelhopf with egg wash and place in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the middle. Remove from the oven and leave to sit for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling tray or rack.
• If using dry prunes, cut them into small 1 cm chunks and leave to soak in the cognac while the dough rises.
Photography by David Loftus
Recipe and image from My Little French Kitchen, Rachel Khoo (Michael Joseph, $39.99 hbk).