Outwardly random thoughts routinely flash into my head.  On the surface they seem indiscriminate, but opportunely they compel me to think about why they are there.  Often with a little message, especially for me!

Case in point.  Yesterday I was innocently running errands around town, when, in a flash, a scene from one of my favourite movies, Amélie, jumped into my head.  The scene in particular is the time-lapse of Amélie’s conception, her mother’s belly growing from small to big, and the arrival of her daughter,  Amélie.  Nine months of which is all over, in a matter of seconds.

Never has there been a time in my life when the weeks and the months have literally flown by (similar to that clever camera work by director Jean Pierre Jeunet).  Until now.

It feels like only yesterday when Mr Mélanger was presenting to me a few (baking related, of course), birthday gifts.  One in particular was a coveted kugelhopf tin (which had been on my “must have” list for some time).  But now, I embrace a measure of disbelief as my birthday is in July.  The reality that it has been almost nine months until christening my kugelhopf tin is quietly alarming between you and me.

I feel my life is currently on some manner of a time-lapse journey, with the speed cunningly being cranked up and down without my permission.  As a result, I keep reminding myself it is vital to savour those special moments when they happen, as time passes so quickly.

So you will be pleased to know one such moment was the first tasting of this kugelhopf.  The first recipe I selected to bake for my Ladurée Sucre theme.  I had high expectations of this recipe (and every recipe in this treasure of a book, in fact), but my expectations were blown away.

This kugelhopf recipe is simply superb.

But I am not surprised.

It is Ladurée, after all, no?

{ Orange flower & almond Kugelhopf } from Ladurée Sucre cookbook

This kugelhopf takes a little planning to make from a time perspective, but is relatively easy if you have a stand mixer.  (I would not want to attempt this one by hand!)  As this dough has such a high fat content, keeping the temperature cool is so important.  For me, the speed in the mixer with a dough hook achieves that.

For the syrup, I produced the total quantity stated, but only liberally brushed the finished kugelhopf instead of rolling it in the syrup or drizzling it over.  When making this again, I would reduce the syrup quantity to ¼.

* Ingredients *
150 g golden seedless raisins or sultanas
750 g brioche dough (recipe below)
Syrup (recipe below)
Flaked almonds
Icing sugar to serve

* Directions *
Place raisins in a bowl of hot water and allow to soak for 1 hour. Meanwhile, prepare the brioche dough, up to the point of transferring the dough to a bowl.  Knead the dough until ready, then add the raisins (drained and dried on a dish towel).  As you do for brioche dough, transfer the kouglof dough to a large bowl and cover with a damp dish towel or plastic wrap, and keep at room temperature. Allow the dough to double in volume (approx. 2 1/2 hours). Return the dough to its initial volume by folding it back on itself.  Refrigerate for 2 1/2 hours; while chilling, it will once again rise. Deflate it again by folding it back on itself. The dough is then ready to use.

Butter the moulds. If making large kugelhopfs, sprinkle the inside of the large moulds with sliced almonds. Weigh out 2 1/2 oz or 70 g portions for individual kugelhopfs, or simply divide the dough in half for larger kugelhopfs.  Press down on each piece of dough to slightly flatten it and bring the edges toward the centre to form a ball.  Dip your thumb in flour and press down in the centre of each ball, turn upside down and place in moulds.  Allow the dough to double in volume again (approx. 2 1/2 hours) at room temperature.  The higher the temperature (without exceeding 30 C / 86 F), the faster it will rise.

Preheat the oven to 180 C or 350 F. Place moulds in oven and bake individual kugelhopfs for 20 minutes or large kugelhopfs for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove kugelhopfs from moulds and place lukewarm syrup in a bowl. Roll the pastries around in the warm syrup, or place on a wire rack and drizzle syrup over them several times. Melt the remaining butter. Using a pastry brush, brush kugelhopfs so that they stay soft and moist. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

Brioche Dough

* Ingredients *
2 1/4 cups or 280 g pastry flour
3 tbsp or 40 g granulated sugar
1 tsp or 5g salt
1/3 oz or 10 g fresh yeast
4 eggs
12 1/2 tbsp or 180 g butter

* Directions *
Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the sugar and salt, placing on one side of the flour and the fresh yeast broken up in little pieces (using your fingers) on the other side. Important: the yeast must not come in contact with the sugar and salt before you start to mix the dough; otherwise it will lose its properties.  Cut the butter into small pieces. In a bowl, beat the eggs. Pour 2/3 of the eggs over the flour and begin by mixing all ingredients together with a wooden spatula. Incorporate the remaining third of the eggs little by little. Knead the dough with your hands, until it starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. Add the butter and continue to work the dough until it once again pulls away from the sides of the bowl.  Transfer the dough to a clean large bowl and cover with a damp dish towel or plastic wrap, and keep at room temperature. Allow the dough to double in volume (approximately 2 1/2 hours). Return the dough to its initial volume by folding it back on itself.   Refrigerate the dough for 2 1/2 hours; while chilling, it will once again rise. Deflate it again by folding it back on itself. The dough is then ready to use.
Makes 750 g of dough

Orange flower-scented syrup

* Ingredients *
8 cups or 2 litres water
1 1/2 cups or 300 g granulated sugar
1/4 cup or  25 g ground almonds (almond flour)
1 1/3 tbsp or 20 g orange flower water

* Directions *
In a saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat and immediately add the ground almonds. Stir to combine. Allow to cool to lukewarm and incorporate the orange flower water.

Makes 12 small kugelhopfs or 2 large kugelhopfs

:: Yeastspotting ::
I am submitting this kugelhopf to Yeastspotting.