Friday, June 26, 2009
Behold, the mighty kougelhopf, king of muffins.
One of the few non-pork non-alcohol derived specialities of Alsatian cuisine, the kougelhopf is the Godzilla of pastries. They’re typically enormous (about the size of a six year old’s head, for the cannibals in my audience) and made of a light, fluffy bread, typically bearing raisins, topped with almonds, and sprinkled with baking sugar.
They’re shaped more-or-less like a giant muffin, only with a rounded bottom and a crater on the top. Why this should be, I don’t know. They do sell “savoury” versions, which drop the raisins and almonds in favour of “lardons” (pork-bits) and onions.
Our as-yet unused Kougelhopf mould
I was originally going to post a recipe, along with a photographic record of Amynah and I attempting to make one in our brand-new kougelhopf mould, but we have so far failed to secure a recipe: a few of our friends have promised to ask their parents or grandparents for theirs, but then get unaccountably evasive when we try to follow up, shaking their heads with haunted looks in their eyes. It’s a serious business, and you don’t just give them away to any old Canadian with a blogspot account. We’d ask our local baker - who has won competitions for her creations - but we’re frankly afraid that if she did tell us, she would then have to kill us.
Post script: I recently went to the “Alsatian Innovation Fair,” showcasing the breakthrough technologies developed by local companies. Among the flying cars and laser-fabricated yo-yos was perhaps the most earth-shaking innovation of all: it was a kougelhopf mould but – get this – for really small kougelhopfs. I could scarcely credit the audacity.