Easter Festival Bread

Sweet Dough Easter Fruit & Nut Couronne. This rich sweet dough can be used to create a selection of festival breads. Simply vary the fruits, nuts and spices to create a light, sweet, Easter bread or a rich, spicy version for Christmas.

Sweet Dough:
50g unsalted butter
250g strong plain white flour
5g salt
8g instant yeast
10g castor sugar
1 large egg, beaten
135 ml full fat milk                                                                                                                        Filling:
90g unsalted butter,melted
70g soft brown sugar or muscovado
60g sultanas or raisins + 75g chopped apricots - all rehydrated in orange juice
60g pistachio nuts
35g plain flour
grated zest of either 1 orange or lemon
100g white marzipan(optional)                                                                                                   Glaze:                                                                                                                                             50g apricot jam sieved or 75g icing sugar for water icing
flaked almonds

Warm the milk & butter in a pan until melted and mixture is lukewarm. Dissolve the sugar & cool.
Put flour into large bowl with salt. Add yeast and milk mixture with the beaten egg. Mix with hands or use an electric mixer to make a soft dough.
Knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic - the mixture will become less sticky the more it is kneaded. Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and leave to rise until doubled in size (about 1-2 hours).
Meanwhile make the filling: cream together the butter and sugar & add the fruits, nuts, flour & zest. Prepare a baking tray lined with silicone paper.
Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface and, using a rolling pin, gently roll into a rectangle about 35cm x 25cm.
On a separate board roll out the marzipan just a little smaller than the dough and place it on top of the dough. Spread the filling on top of the marzipan.
With the long side facing you, roll up the dough tightly into a cylinder and seal the long edge. Cut the cylinder down its length, keeping one end 'joined' (as in a plait). Twist the 2 lengths together and join into a circlet.
Transfer to a baking tray, cover and leave to prove for one hour.
Bake in an oven pre-heated to 200 degrees C for approximately 25 mins until golden brown. Brush with melted butter for a soft crust.
To finish, brush with warmed apricot jam glaze and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Set aside to cool on a wire rack. Alternatively, this can be drizzled with glace icing.  



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