Oh I did enjoy The Great British Bake Off this week, and was so pleased that my attempt at a couronne actually worked out well enough for me to write a blog post about it! (unlike my shortbread lighthouse, aka a willy with a nipple on the top, from last week’s attempt at a biscuit show stopper)
Now I’ve never used yeast before (terrible I know!) but was determined to push myself, once again, out of my comfort zone and try something new. (I get bored very easily, love new things!) I liked the look of Paul Hollywood’s couronne a lot, but fancied trying to change a few things and make it my own, double pushing myself into new baking territory!
250g/9oz strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
7g/⅓oz instant yeast
50g/1¾oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
105ml/3½fl oz milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the butter, milk and egg and mix to combine, using your hands. Continue to mix until you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl. Use the dough to clean the inside of the bowl (and your fingers) and keep going until you have a soft dough.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and begin to knead. Keep kneading for 10-12 minutes. (This was a good workout for my arms!) Work through the initial wet stage until the dough starts to form a soft, smooth skin.
When the dough feels smooth and silky, put it into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size. I put my bowl in the airing cupboard for an hour, but I think it might’ve been too hot as it didn’t rise very well, so I left it in the kitchen for a further 30 mins and that did the trick.
Whilst the dough was rising (or not at first!) I made the filling….
90g/3¼oz unsalted butter, softened
70g/2½oz light muscovado sugar
35g/1¼oz plain flour
65g/2¼oz chopped walnuts
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cooking apples chopped into small chunks
2 plums cut into small cubes
Beat the butter and muscovado sugar together until smooth. Add the flour, raisins, walnuts. Mix to combine.
Next heat a saucepan and add the lemon juice, a splash of water, the cinnamon, apples and plums. Cook until the fruit is just beginning to soften. Leave to cool and then add to the mixture and combine well.
Line a baking tray with baking parchment or silicone paper.
Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. Taking care not to knock the air out of it, roll out the dough into a rectangle, approximately 33x25cm/13x10in. (I did not measure mine!) Turn the dough 90 degrees if necessary, so you have a long edge facing you. Spread the apple and plum mixture evenly over the dough. Roll up the dough tightly (like a Swiss roll). Roll it slightly to seal, then cut it in half lengthways (you can leave one end joined to help you twist the dough and form the circular crown).
Twist the two dough lengths together to make a rope, then join the ends of the rope to form a circular ‘crown’. Transfer (carefully!) to the baking tray.
Put the tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave to prove for 30-45mins, (again I left this in my kitchen to prove) or until the dough springs back quickly if you prod it lightly with your finger. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
Bake the couronne for 25-35 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown. (It took mine 25 mins) Set aside to cool on a wire rack.
50g/1¾oz apricot jam (if I’d have had plum jam I’d have used that!)
100g/3½oz icing sugar
Gently heat the apricot jam with a splash of water, then sieve it and brush it over the warm loaf to glaze. Mix the icing sugar with enough water to make a thin icing, drizzle over the loaf. Leave to cool before serving.
And there you have it! Tastes pretty good too even though I say so myself!
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