A traditional cake from Alsace, this recipe for kugelhopf is from the repertoire of M. Hermé senior, who is a pâtissier in Colmar. The cake takes its name from the pan in which it is baked, whose shape has altered very little since the 16th century. A kugelhopf pan has sloping, furrowed, and molded sides and a central funnel. In the past the pans would have been made from tin, clay, and copper, but nowadays it is much easier to use one that has a nonstick lining.
Makes: 9 inch (23 cm) Kugelhopf
Soak the raisins in the rum overnight. The next day, make the brioche dough, adding the soaked raisins 2 minutes before you finish kneading. Flour your fingers and flatten the dough into a disk.
Lift the edges up and over toward the center and shape the dough into a large ball. Roll the ball on the work surface, shaping it between the palms of your hands so that it will rise evenly during baking.
Make a hole in the center of the dough ball by pressing down with your fingertips.
Butter a 9 inch (23 cm) kugelhopf pan and sprinkle evenly with the sliced almonds.
Transfer the dough to the pan and press it down onto the almonds. Cover the pan with a clean dish towel and let the dough rise at room temperature for about 1½ hours.
To make the syrup, pour the water and sugar into a pan. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and add the ground almonds and orange-flower water. Let cool, then refrigerate. Clarify the butter
Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Bake the kugelhopf for 35 minutes. Remove the kugelhopf from the pan and place it on a wire rack. While it is still hot, brush with the clarified butter and then with the syrup.
Lightly sprinkle the sugar over the syrup glazed kugelhopf, then let cool and set.
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