D. had some law school buddies over this weekend for a study marathon, and I thought it only fair that if D. study her butt off, I cook my butt off. So I started brainstorming ideas for brunch food that could be served room temp (since I'd already be gone by the time they came over, and D's not much in the way of kitchen activities that aren't dish-washing.) I settled on a frittata and apricot-couronne -- a hole-in-one, if you ask me. I'd been meaning to make apricot couronne ever since I saw it over at Tartelette (you all know that Tartelette is one of my all time fave blogs). She found the recipe from one of her favorite cooks, Paul Hollywood. Now she tweaked his recipe a bit, and I tweaked her recipe a bit, so this is two degrees of separation from the original. Paul Hollywood uses apricots, raisins, and walnuts, and includes apricot jam in the filling. Tartelette used cherries instead of raisins, and brushed the apricot jam on the outside of the loaf. I used apricots, cranberries, and raisins, no walnuts, and no apricot jam, and I brushed the residual syrupy stuff from the apricot mixture on the outside, figuring that the butter in it would give the loaf a golden hue. Ahh, yes. How did it come out? Finger-lickin' good, of course!
**A fair warning, before you accuse me of being vague about the shaping instructions below: both Tartelette and UKTV (where the Paul Hollywood recipe originally appears) reference a video of that shaping that I couldn't find anywhere; when I finally found it, it wouldn't load. I've done my best to explain what they mean by "cut lengthwise and wrap to make a plait" -- but if you can't figure it out and don't want to risk anything craaazy, just roll up your loaf, wrap it around and pinch the edges together to make a donut shape, and bake it that way. It won't taste any less delicious.
Apricot-Cranberry Couronne adapted from Paul Hollywood's recipe
For the dough:
- 250 g (2 1/2 cups) white flour
- 5 g (1 teaspoon) Salt
- 50g (1/2 stick) Butter
- 120ml (2/3 cup) warm milk
- 1 packet dried yeast
- 1 egg, beaten
For the filling:
- about 12 dried apricots
- 150g (2/3 cup) orange juice
- 50g (1/2 stick) butter
- 1/2 cup light muscovado or brown sugar
- 35g (2 Tbsp) plain flour
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- grated zest of one orange
1. First start to prepare the filling. Place the apricots, cranberries, and orange juice in a bowl and nuke in the microwave for a minute, then set aside to marinate while you make the dough.
2. To make the dough, place the strong white flour, salt, butter, warm milk, yeast and egg in a mixing bowl.
3. Mix well together to form a dough.
4. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 6 minutes.
5. Return the dough to the cleaned-out mixing bowl and set aside to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, until increased to 150% of the original size.
6. While the dough is rising, drain the marinated apricots and cranberries.
7. In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and muscovado sugar until fluffy. Mix in the drained apricots, flour, cranberries, and orange zest.
8. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out the dough into a rectangle, approximately 25 x 33cm.
9. Spread the apricot mixture evenly over the dough rectangle.
10. Roll up the rectangle tightly. Roll it slightly, then cut lengthways along the dough (if some of the filling starts to seep out, no biggie). Delicately plait the 2 dough lengths together: the method is to twist each half slightly while wrapping them around each other, and when you've wrapped the lengths of dough completely, connect the two ends of the log to make a big donut-shaped plait. Brush the excess apricot syrup all over the top of the plait.
11. Place the dough plait on a lined baking sheet and set aside to rise for 1 hour.
12. Preheat the oven to 390°F.
13. Bake for 25 minutes until risen and golden.
14. Set aside to cool.