The two younger children and I have been zipping through season two of The Great British Baking Show (but on Netflix). Evenings that the older children are off doing their big-kid things, like youth group or biology lessons, the younger two kids blitz the house and get showers, and then we snuggle up together on the couch to salivate our way through another episode.
Last week I got inspired by one of the technical challenges. I’m not normally compelled to copy the show's recipes—many times they are way too involved and frumpy, and I am not inclined toward fussy decoration of any kind—but as soon as I saw the apricot couronne, a glorious twisted crown stuffed with dried apricots, raisins, walnuts, and orange zest, I simply had to make it.
This wreath is traditionally made for Christmas, but it’s simple enough to be made just for anyhow. I made it on a subdued Saturday afternoon, while a freak snow fell. I hoarded the leftovers, eating them for breakfast over the course of several days.
I have plans to make another one, but this time with figs instead of apricots. Or maybe some of both? I’m not sure yet.
Adapted from Paul Hollywood’s recipe, showcased on Season Two of The Great British Baking Show.
Paul uses metric system measurements, so I did, too. Feel free to convert to the US Customary Standard Stupid System, if you wish. Or better yet, buy a scale. I love my scale.
Update on March 25, 2017: Just made a couronne using dried figs in place of the apricots. It is exceedingly delicious.
An hour before starting (or the night before, if you’re better than me at planning ahead), put the chopped apricots in a bowl and cover with the orange juice to soak.
for the bread:
250 grams bread flour
5 grams salt
8 grams yeast
50 grams butter, at room temperature
135 ml milk, warmed
1 egg, lightly beaten
Measure all the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix on medium speed for about six minutes. (Or stir with a spoon and knead by hand, whatever.) Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic, and set in a warm place to rise until double.
for the filling:
120 grams dried apricots, chopped
¼ – 1/3 cup orange juice
90 grams butter, at room temperature
70 grams brown sugar
35 grams flour
60 grams raisins
65 grams walnuts, chopped
zest from an orange
Drain the apricots, reserving the juice for the glaze.
With a wooden spoon, stir together the butter and sugar. Add the flour, zest, raisins, walnuts, and apricots and stir to combine.
Roll the dough into a rectangle. Spread with the filling and roll up as you would sweet rolls. Cut the roll in half, lengthwise, leaving a couple inches of one end intact. When you’re done, the dough roll should resemble a pair of pants for a really skinny, long-legged person. Twist the dough legs together, keeping the cut sides facing up as much as possible.
Shape the twist into a wreath, weaving and pinching the ends together. Transfer the wreath to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic and let rest for 30-45 minutes.
Bake at 375 degrees for 25-35 minutes. If the dough darkens too quickly, tent with foil partway through.
apricot jam (I used peach), slightly warmed
confectioners’ sugar thinned with the reserved orange juice to make a drizzle-able glaze
As soon as the wreath finishes baking, brush the top and sides with the apricot jam. Remove any blistered raisins. Allow the wreath to cool to room temperature before drizzling with glaze and then sprinkling with slivered almonds.
This same time, years previous: lambs, the quotidian (3.23.15), the pigpen, the quotidian (3.24.14), of a moody Sunday, the nieces, sour crumb cherry pie, caramelized onions.