This recipe is another one that I copied from a cookbook checked out from our local library maybe 30 years ago, and pasted on an index card. I have no idea what its origin, but I know there are many similar variations of festive gugelhopf and kugelhopf from France and Germany, with many different spellings, and probably in many more countries. In fact, it’s not too different from Italy’s Panettone or Pandulce, as far as ingredients go.
This particular recipe is a moist yeasted sweet bread with dried fruits, topped with nuts. Obviously, there can be many variations. I made this one specifically for Christmas morning, so I used only dried tart cherries and pistachios.
1 cup dried tart cherries, cut in half if they’re large, about 5 ounces
1/2 cup golden raisins, about 2 1/2 ounces
4 tablespoons Kirsch or ruby port
1/4 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dry yeast
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, divided
1 cup sugar
4 egg yolks
1/4 teaspoon orange oil
3 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup tepid whole milk
3 1/2 cups white flour
1/2 cup ground pistachios or almonds
Mix the dried fruits and the Kirsch in a medium bowl. Do not be tempted to add any more Kirsch; it could kill the yeast. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, then drain and set aside.
Combine 1/4 cup warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast over; stir to dissolve. Let sit for 10 minutes or until yeast foams to top.
In large bowl beat 6 tablespoons of butter, 1 cup sugar, egg yolks, zest, vanilla, and salt until well blended. Add yeast mixture, milk, and 1 cup of flour. Beat until smooth.
Add in plumped fruits and gradually add remaining flour and beat until dough forms.
Cover and let sit for 15 minutes.
Butter a 10-cup Bundt pan with 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the nuts, tilting pan to coat bottom and sides.
Spoon dough into pan. Cover with plastic wrap and damp towel. Let dough rise in warm place for 3 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake about 35 minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes.
Turn onto rack to cool.
If desired, make a glaze for the Gugelhopf by combining 1 cup powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of Kirsch and 1 tablespoon of cream. Whisk until smooth, then pour over the cake.
Personally, I don’t love powdered sugar glazes, and this bread is sweetened already, but I made a glaze for half the gugelhopf.
I love gugelhopf slightly toasted with butter.