The weather outside has well and truly changed for the worst and the ‘Baking for Idiots’ household has been struck down by a severe case of man-flu. This next bake was a desperate search for a little sunshine to breakthrough the gloom, and the answer came in the form of an Apricot Couronne. This was the obvious answer, with its sunny, apricoty and fruity sweetness. I had no idea how to make one, but again the Great British Bake Off inspired me to try and it seemed a worthy task to round off National Baking Week. I had never made anything even vaguely similar, so set off equipped simply with Mr Paul Hollywood’s guidance and as always, bags of baking enthusiasm.
Actually, most of the journey went pretty smoothly. Only when I was attempting to ‘roll tightly into a Swiss roll’ did my couronne decide to eject a portion of filling (quickly stuffed back inside). This may have had something to do with the slightly large belly my Swiss roll acquired in the rolling process from my not so rectangular rectangle of dough.
Whilst cutting the dough length ways and tying into a rope, I was left wondering if the filling was supposed to be seeping out? Part of the charm? Or my inaccuracies? And also how tightly to wind?
After all of these ponderings I fashioned a circular couronne, which was slightly less elegant than that of the master himself, but nonetheless recognisable as the titled ‘crown’.
I can whole-heartedly recommend attempting this bake. The results look pretty impressive and taste great. Although the process proved a little confusing, it put my baking reactions to the test and provided an enjoyable bake.
Tip, probably leave your bun to cool after the glazing before the icing, or it will melt off…like mine. Still tasty but somewhat less refined!
And although my version did look somewhat more like a large Danish pastry than a sophisticated Apricot Couronne, it was definitely tasty, a ray of golden sunshine on a miserable day, and a small solace to those struck by the dreaded man-flu (EDITORIAL NOTE: Was actually a really incredibly serious debilitating case of the common cold. Super serious. Honest.)
What to do
As this is the British Bake Off Technical, I must refer you to Paul Hollywood’s original recipe for the ‘How To’.
However I will list the ingredients and add a few musings.
For the dough:
- 250g/9oz strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 5g salt (just under a teaspoon)
- 7g/⅓oz instant yeast (2 teaspoons)
- 50g/1¾oz unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
- 105ml/3½fl oz milk
- 1 free-range egg, lightly beaten
For the filling:
- 90g/3¼oz unsalted butter, softened
- 70g/2½oz light muscovado sugar
- 120g/4½oz ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped and soaked in orange juice
- 35g/1¼oz plain flour
- 60g/2¼oz raisins
- 65g/2¼oz chopped walnuts
- 1 orange, zest only
- 50g/1¾oz apricot jam
- 100g/3½oz icing sugar
- 25g/1oz flaked almonds
TIPS BEFORE YOU START!
Make sure you soak those apricots now, or even earlier, as by the time you realize you need to, its too late!
Check you have baking paper- to avoid sending boyfriends out to the mostly shut shops on a Sunday night.
Double check your yeast is instant and does not need activation
Now simply follow Paul’s recipe exactly, I can only offer some observations.
When rolling, try to make your dough as rectangular as possible, or you will get an imperfect Swiss roll and therefore an uneven crown (mine had a bit of a fat middle).
After cutting the dough length-ways, don’t worry if little bits of filling come out, as I think this is OK. Just wrap them to form your rope and press the ends together to seal in as unobvious a way as you can manage.
If your loaf is too warm when icing, then it will simply run off. Cool slightly after glazing before icing.
Finally, sit back, enjoy, take a photo of your creation (so you can show your achievement to others), leave us a comment and don’t forget to eat it as soon as possible!