Friday, July 06, 2007

Kugelhopf with Honeyed Muscat pears

This week I made this lovely Kugelhopf which featured in the July ‘French’ issue of Gourmet Traveller. It is a dessert that comes from the Alsace region, hence the German feel to it and apparently the Germans & Austrians all lay claim to the cakes origins too. Not having any Alsatian Muscat on hand (who does??), I used a lovely muscat that I had lying around from a trip to Rutherglen’s Campbells winery. It goes without saying of course that a glass of the stuff alongside the dessert goes very well indeed. I loved the cake which to me was quite unusual & different to any I had made before. You make it very much like a bread & in the end it has the texture of bread yet beautiful & sweet but not overly so, the bits of dark chocolate & muscatels just make it perfect. I also found it really needed the pears & syrup drizzled over the top or else it was a bit dry on it’s own. Note my cake is not very high as I had trouble getting it to rise, not to worry though as the flavour was still up there.

Kugelhopf with Honeyed Muscat pears

1 egg
100ml warm milk
50g dried muscatels or raisins
60ml (1/4 cup) kirsch
250g plain flour
55g white sugar
1 teaspoon dried yeast
75g unsalted butter, softened
50g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
14 whole blanched almonds

Honeyed Muscat Pears

440g (2 cups) caster sugar
2 tablespoons honey
6 corella pears, halved lengthways
2 cinnamon quills
140ml Alsatian Muscat or similar floral, sweet wine

Lightly whisk egg & milk together in a bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine muscatels and kirsch to soak & set aside. Combine flour, sugar, yeast & 1 teaspoon salt in a food processor & process until mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add butter & process for 2 minutes, then add egg mixture & process until well combined. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface & knead for 5 minutes, adding more flour to stop dough from sticking, if necessary. Transfer to a large bowl & stand in a warm place for 1 ½ hours or until doubled in size. Knead dough again on a lightly floured surface, adding chocolate, muscatels & kirsch, kneading until combined.

Preheat oven to 180c. Lightly butter & flour a 5 cup capacity, 16cm diameter kugelhopf mould, shaking excess flour from mould, & press almonds into grooves of mould. Roll dough out into a log shape, long enough to fir mould, then join ends to form a circle. Carefully place log into mould & press down. Cover with a tea towel & stand for about 1 hour or until dough has risen to rim of mould. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown, then turn onto a wire rack to cool.

To make pears, combine sugar, honey & 2 cups of water in a saucepan & cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes or until mixture begins to simmer. Reduce heat to low, add pears, cinnamon & 60ml Muscat & simmer for 15-20 minutes or until pears are tender & caramelized. Remove form heat & stir in remaining Muscat.

Serve Kugelhopf with pears & drizzled with syrup.

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