Well, here was a wonderful idea, which, in the execution, was not so slick. I thought about doing it over, so you could see what it is supposed to look like- but hey, you could read the book for that, no? Next time, it will look much better, and taste the same. In the meantime, it is an illustration of a principle I try to stick to, and abandoned here to ill effect. It wasn't fatal, but I wished I hadn't done it.
And this is the (sadly disregarded) motto: The first time I make something I've never made or eaten before, I should follow the recipe as written.That way I will know what it is meant to taste and look like in the original, and can vary it later with some idea of what I'm doing. I thought I was being clever, as one does. This is a tasty and handy idea for a make ahead buffet thing, and would have looked lovely too, had I done what I was supposed to.
It is a savory kugelhopf, made into a pile of really nice sandwiches, and it can look exactly like a bundt cake for serving, if, instead of slicing up the whole thing willy nilly, you cut a tidy thin slice right off the top and one off the bottom, to keep it all together when you reassemble it.
As you can see, I didn't do that; hence the leaning tower effect. Also, I should have tried for more, and thinner, horizontal slices. It was all very tasty anyway, and we pretty much ate it up for father's day brunch, along with some scones, strawberries and cherries.
I am going to give you the recipe for the "kugelhopf au lard". You bake it, slice it horizontally, spread it with delicious, thinnish sandwich fillings, stack it (but for the top and bottom slices) and then cut through vertically, to make individual sandwiches. When you put it back together, top and bottom on again to maintain order, you can wrap it up snugly, and refrigerate it for 24 hours. This make-ahead factor is very good for parties. The traditional filling for this bacon and onion egg bread is thin slices of proscuitto and an herby creamy cheese. Very tasty, and goes down well with coffee and/or tea.
Here's what you need:
A Kugelhopf pan, or similarly styled bundt pan, well buttered or sprayed with a neutral cooking oil. Be sure to cover all nooks and crannies.
3 1/3 cups AP flour
2 tsps instant type yeast
1 tsp sea salt
10 Tbsps nice unsalted butter, softened
scant cup of milk
1/4 lb bacon, cooked crisp and finely chopped
either 1 small onion, chopped and cooked until soft in the bacon fat, or 2 Tbsps freeze-dried onion bits- the nice toasted ones from Penzey's, or the like
12 walnut halves
This is what you do:
Place a walnut half in each of the runnels at the bottom of the pan, top down. Chop any leftover nuts, and mic with the onion and bacon. Set aside. In the bowl of your electric mixer combine flour, yeast and salt. With the paddle going slowly, add the butter, bit by bit. Add the eggs, one at a time. when well combined, add enough of the milk to form a soft dough. If it gets too soft, you can add a bit of extra flour. When the dough starts to come away from the sides, switch to the dough hook. Knead with the hook for 10 minutes. Cover, and let it rise until about doubled...this should take about 1 1/2 hours.
Lift the dough out of the bowl, and push your thumbs through the middle of the mass, as you set the dough into the prepared pan, with the hole over the center tube. Using the side of your hand, make a channel in the center of the dough all around. Push the bacon onion combo into the little tunnel, distributing it evenly around. Now, pinch the edges of the dough firmly together, covering the mixture, and sealing it inside. Let it rise for another hour, while preheating your oven to 400F
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden and hollow sounding if tapped. Set a rack over the top, upending the kugelhopf. Cool it thoroughly on the rack.
As is, this is a really nice companion for cheese and/or soup. To make the party dish properly, slice a thin horizontal slice, walnuts intact from the top, and set it aside. Slice the rest thinly, and horizontally, into an even number of slices. Make big round sandwiches, two rounds each. spread the insides with soft herby goat cheese and thinly sliced proscuitto, or the filling of your choice. Stack them to reform the kugelhopf, without the top, and cut through the lot, top to bottom, making a stack of wedge shaped sandwiches all round. Set on your serving dish, set the reserved top on it, and wrap it tightly. chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or up to 24.
This recipe is adapted from A Taste of Alsace by Sue Style. I am endlessly attracted to the cuisine of Alsace, and am amazed at how few cookbooks are available on the topic. I have a small ,old pamphlet, which was intended for tourists, and one other cookbook. That's about it. Anyone have any suggestions for other sources?
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