We’re back in the realm of Le Roi Stanislas, my favourite Polish king without kingdom who found a home in Lorraine, another ancient dominion that begins at the west border of our tiny village. Le Roi Stanislas, ardent foodie and connoisseur with a sweet tooth and somewhat my kitchen patron Saint. I’ve been forever wanting to bake a kouglouf, the grand père of the baba au rhum, and now just seemed the perfect time. I spiced it with a fig infused cream, reminiscent of the Italian panettone farcito. As I’m not too much into raisins and stuff in brioche dough I left these out, however, feel free to add them if you’re into it. After all, everything is allowed as long as it pleases the palate. And now to the instructions.
What you’ll need
Quantities actually make one giant or two smaller kougloufs. Odd thing is that halving the quantities renders a less than perfect result, seems like those yeast bubblies are rather social folks and like to crowd.
For the kouglouf
- About twenty little dried figs from happy producers
- 2.5dl milk
- 20g fresh yeast
- 500g flour
- 75g sugar
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- A pinch of salt
- 120g butter at room temperature
For the filling
- 2.5 dl milk
- 60g sugar
- 15g maize flour
- One egg yolk
- 60g of butter
For the frosting
- 120g powdered sugar
- One large spoon of inverted sugar or glucose
- Two large spoon of rose water
How to bake it
The day before, half ten figs and let them soak in 5dl milk at room temperature overnight. Strain and set the milk and the figs aside.
The secret ingredient to successfully bake a fluffy kouglouf is warmth. All ingredients must be at room temperature, ideally the milk and the working utensils warmed a little in the oven prior to get started.
Put the flour in a big warm bowl and dig a hole into the middle. In a small bowl, mix the yeast with 0.5dl of fig-milk and a bit of the flour, and pour into the big bowl. Let sit in a warm spot for twenty minutes or so. Then add 2dl of fig milk, salt sugar and one egg and mix everything with a kneading hook. Add the second egg when the dough gets smooth. Mix for two minutes and then add bits of butter while continuing mixing. Mix for another five minutes. The dough should be smooth and elastic, glistening and not sleek when you touch it. Cover and let rise in a warm spot for two hours.
Butter a bundt cake mould, butter it very well and dust it with flour too. Fill with the dough to 3/4, cover and let rise for another half an hour.
Cover with tinfoil and bake at 180° with the fan for 40 minutes. Let cool in the mould for an hour, then remove the mould and let cool for another three hours.
To prepare the filling, heat the reminder of the fig milk. In a separate bowl, mix the egg yolk with the sugar and the maize flour. Then slowly pour the hot milk into the mixture, stir well and transfer back to the pan. Heat and take off the stove as soon as it boils. It should now be thick. If not, dissolve a bit more of maize flour in milk and stir under while still hot. Let cool in the fridge, then stir in the butter. Puree the soaked figs and stir into the cream as well.
Then the tricky bit. Take a sharp knife and cut the kouglouf open about 2.5cm from the bottom. Carefully remove the bottom and with the knife and hollow out the kouglouf. Fill with the cream, replace the bottom and let sit upside down in the fridge over night.
Before serving, mix the powdered sugar with the rosewater and the glucose for seven minutes and drizzle over the kouglouf. Decorate with dried figs and dust with powdered sugar. Keep cool.
How to eat it
Well, coffee or tea, of course, while I wouldn’t say anything against a little fig liqueur along.