Happy Sunday to you all! I realise I have taken a week to finally blog my attempt at this week’s technical challenge following on from Tuesday’s GBBO. A great review of the programme can be found here, but be warned, only visit if you have watched the episode! You’ll also find talented food bloggers baking along and showcasing their results – it’s worth a visit.
So this week, I decided I’d give the technical challenge a go since it has been 5 weeks since I made the angel food cake that caused some confusion and grief on the show!
The contestants were given their very vague recipe and instructed to create Paul Hollywood’s own apricot couronne. When I bought the book several weeks ago, I remember flicking through and thinking, I will never bother with that, looks far too tricky and time consuming. However, what I actually found was a sweet dough that was absolutely amazing and very very delicious. I had expected to not like it since I’m not a fan of dried apricots but this is on an entirely different level, seriously. I had 2 difficulties:
- Making it into a satisfying round crown shape
- Stopping myself from eating it
- 250 g strong white bread flour
- 5 g salt
- 7 g fast-action dried yeast
- 50 g butter, softened (unsalted)
- 105 ml full-fat milk
- 1 medium egg
For the filling:
- 90 g butter, softened
- 70 g light brown muscovado sugar
- 120 g dried apricots, chopped and soaked in 100 ml orange juice
- 35 g plain flour
- 60 g raisins
- 65 g walnut pieces
- Finely grated zest of 1 orange
For the glaze:
- 50 g apricot jam
- 100 g icing sugar, sifted
- 25 g flaked almonds
- Start with the dough; Add the flour to a large bowl, followed by the yeast to one side of the bowl and salt on the other. Add the soft butter, milk and egg and turn the mix round with your fingers. Keep doing this until the dough picks up all of the flour in the bowl; keep going until you have a ball of soft dough.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10-12 mins until the dough begins to develop a smooth skin; when it feels smooth, place into a floured (or oiled) bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour until doubled in size. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
- While it’s rising, make the filling; put the soft butter, sugar, drained apricots, flour, raisins, walnuts and zest into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside until needed.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, turn it onto a lightly floured worktop; don’t punch it down to deflate as you would with bread, roll it out to a rectangle about 25 x 33 cm. Spread the apricot filling evenly over the dough, then roll up halfway like a swiss roll from the long side, then rolled up from the oven long side. Roll it back and forth slightly to seal the seam, then cut it lengthways in half (Keep the top end attached to make shaping easier).
- Twist the two strands of dough together then twist the two ends together to finish the ‘crown’. Carefully transfer the crown to the prepared baking tray; put this in a large plastic bag and leave to prove for 45 mins until the dough has risen and springs back when pressed lightly.
- While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas mark 6. When the couronne is ready, take it out of the plastic bag and place in the oven for 25-30 mins (rotating after 15 minutes); once baked, transfer to a wire rack.
- Heat the apricot jam with a splash of water and push through a sieve into a bowl. While the couronne is hot, brush the jam all over to glaze. Mix the icing sugar with enough water to make a thin icing; drizzle over and sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Leave to cool.