The cougnolle or cougnou, is a traditional sweet bread from Belgium. It is made for Christmas and the holiday season. It is made in the shape of a swaddled baby to symbolize Jesus in his crib.

Recipe for one cougnolle:
  • 250g strong flour
  • 15g fresh yeast
  • 15cl warm milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 75g butter, softened
  • 50g raisins
  • 50g pearl sugar
  • pinch of salt
Mix the yeast in the warm milk. Sift the flour into a large bowl, mix in the salt and sugar and make a well in the middle. Place the milk-yeast mixture as well as the egg into the well and start incorporating the flour little by little. Add the butter little by little at the same time. When all the ingredients have binded together, take your dough out of the bowl onto a well floured surface and start kneading for 10-15 minutes.
Place the dough back into the bowl, cover with a cloth and allow to raise for 1h to 1h30 in a warm place.
Then, take your dough back to your floured surface and start kneading for another 10 minutes. At this point you incorporate the raisins and pearl sugar.
Take two small parts of dough and form two neat balls with them. With the rest of the dough make an elongated ball. Place it on an oven tray. Place one of the small ball to on end and the second one to the other. Make sure that they are secured and brush the whole bread with an egg wash made off a tablespoon of water and the egg yolk.
Allow to raise a second time for 1h in a warm place and bake in a preheated oven at 210 degrees Celsius (410F) for 30 minutes.
Take out of the oven and allow to cool down on a pastry rack.

Nut free, vegetarian, suitable for pregnant women.