Sweet Breads

Ape-ricot or App-ricot?

The next challenge is an apricot couronne.  French for “crown”, it’s a fruit-filled, twisted ring of yeasted bread, stuffed with apricots, raisins and some other goodies.  I just never knew whether it was pronounced “ape-ricot” or “app-ricot”.  The former appears to be the British version and what is said here in the PNW, but I grew up in the Midwest where it was the latter.

Doing the Google-foo, I found Paul Hollywood’s recipe here.

Reading through the recipe, it calls for marzipan.  I don’t have any in my pantry, and really don’t have any idea where to buy it (I don’t recall seeing it at my local grocer’s), but looking up what it is and how it’s made, I have all the ingredients here:

Marzipan uncooked:

1/4 pound ground blanched almonds
1/4 pound powdered sugar
1 egg white
1/4 tsp. salt

Marzipan cooked:

3 cups sugar
1 cup water
4 cups ground blanched almonds

Mix together and store in an airtight container overnight.

Looks fairly simple…if I have enough ground almonds… I DO!!!  OK.  Did that.  Easy enough.  Put it in a bowl, covered it, and stuck it in the fridge for a couple hours.

Mix up the dough for the couronne–warm milk, flour, butter, salt, egg and yeast.  I dumped it all in the mixer and let it run for 5 minutes.  Paul Hollywood suggests you knead it by hand for that length of time.  I’m interested to find out if it comes out essentially the same with the bread hook on the mixer.  Then scrape into an oiled bowl, cover with a towel, and allow to rise for 1-3 hours.

Then go back to the hunt for the keys.  This has been going on for more than a week.  I lost my set of keys that have the spare for the truck, my daughter’s car, my house key, and a friend’s rental house key (she’s the landlady, but I live a lot closer).  A couple hours later, I cleared the dust off my side table and dresser, and rifled through the stuff by the front door, but no keys.  At least not yet.  At least areas of the house are getting cleaner a little bit at a time.  Like Spring cleaning, but on the cusp of fall.

While the rise is finishing, mix together the butter & sugar, then add in the apricots, the raisins (or cranberries) and walnuts.  I bashed the walnuts with a hammer so they’re really pretty fine.  Some of it is rather pulverized walnuts, but I don’t really care for chunky bits in my food.  I’m weird that way.  Add the orange zest, and mix in a bit more.

Dump dough out onto the counter.

Roll out the dough (it says without knocking out the air, but I’m not sure how that is done), and spread the fruit mixture on it.

Then take your marzipan, roll it out and lay it on the fruit.  OK, mine fell apart completely, so I just placed the chunks on it.  I’m sure it’ll all taste the same in the end.

Roll up the dough and all the goodies inside.  THEN…take your knife (or the dough scraper) and but it in half lengthwise.  Twist those two pieces together and shape into a wreath.

Place it on a piece of parchment paper on a baking tray.

Now here’s the tricky part–put it all into a bag to do another prove for an hour.  The tricky bit is finding a bag big enough for the job…I found a 2 1/2 gallon bag in the pantry (the size I needed for all my son’s medications when he went to Boy Scout camp), transferred the ring onto a smaller pan and was able to squeeze it in and zip it shut.  PERFECT!  The can of Lyle’s in the middle is to keep the plastic from sticking to the top of the ring.

Wait 1 hour…do something useful…like picking up the kids at school…

Oooo…lovely!

Bake at 200 C (392 F) for 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Brush with apricot jam to give it a nice shine.

Make a sugar icing–mine was too thin, but it still added a smidge of sweetness and looks lovely.

And it tastes amazing!  10/10–will make again!  I’ll explore other flavors, like apple-cinnamon, s’mores, pineapple-coconut….

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