Valentine’s Day may have passed for another year but that doesn’t mean you can’t still show your love. And I love making bread so I thought I’d devise an original recipe for a couronne.
A couronne, meaning crown, is a showstopping sweet loaf and I’ve filled mine with tea-soaked dried fruit and topped it with flaked almonds and an orange icing. Now this loaf does require a bit of preparation the night before but it is ridiculously simple.
The soaked fruit becomes plump and bouncy jewels once they’ve soaked overnight but I didn’t throw away the tea either; it was the liquid that I used for the bread. The tea takes on a lot of flavour from the dried fruit and becomes slightly sweet and sticky. However you do have to drain as much of the liquid away from the fruit as possible otherwise it makes twisting the bread into the couronne shape very messy and difficult.
I like kneading the dough by hand but this can be done in a stand mixer with a dough hook.
This petite showstopping loaf cuts into 12 and goes great with a slab of butter alongside a cup of tea.
I entered this loaf in Sunday Bake Club’s Love Yourself Week and you can find their amazing blog by clicking here.
1 English breakfast teabag
2 tsp granulated sugar
400ml boiling water
200g mixed dried fruit – raisins, mixed peel, sultanas, dried cranberries, whatever you want to use
A pinch of ground ginger
300g plain flour
1 x 7g sachet of fast-action dried yeast
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
25g flaked almonds
75g icing sugar
Freshly squeezed juice of ½ an orange
Start your preparation for this loaf the night before. Place the teabag, sugar and boiling water into a large heatproof bowl. Give it a stir to dissolve the sugar and carefully add the mixed dried fruit, without splashing yourself. Stir again, add the ground ginger and cover with clingfilm and place into the fridge to macerate overnight.
Drain the tea and the dried fruit, reserving the liquid. Into a large bowl, add the flour. Place the salt and yeast on opposite sides of the bowl. Add the cinnamon. Mix the flour until everything is well incorporated. Make a well in the centre.
Add around half of the tea liquid to the bowl and begin to bring the dough together into a ball. If the dough is dry, add more of the liquid, slightly slower this time. Continue to mix until the dough comes together. It should be sticky but not wet. Turn out the dough onto a well floured work surface and knead the dough for around 10 minutes by hand or for 5 minutes in a mixer. Avoid adding too much flour. It should be smooth on the outside and when a lightly floured finger presses the dough, it should spring back.
Place into a bowl, cover with a tea towel or clingfilm and allow to prove for around 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Once proved turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 minute. Roll out the dough using a lightly floured rolling pin into a large rectangle. Tack down the closest edge of the dough onto the surface as shown below.
Scatter the plump dried fruit onto the dough, leaving an inch gap at the tacked end. At the untacked end, fold over the dough tightly and then tightly roll up the dough. Think like a Swiss roll. Using a dough scraper, cut off the ends to neaten up. Give the dough a light roll and press to even it out.
Take a knife and cut down the centre lengthways completely. Separate the two lengths of dough slightly and then grab hold of the lengths and twist them together. After a few twists, join the two ends together. Flatten them slightly and then knot them together and place the couronne onto a baking tray lined with parchment.
Scatter over a few flaked almonds, making sure they are not pointing upwards. Place the tray into the oven and turn it on to 200°C. As the oven heats up, the bread will prove and then will bake immediately after. In the bottom of the oven, place a roasting tray filled with water. This will turn to steam, creating a softer crust. The couronne will stay in the oven for around 30 minutes, but keep your eye on it from 20 minutes. Check the couronne is done by the colour – it should be a deep golden brown – and the bottom, when tapped, will sound hollow.
Whilst it is baking, make the icing by adding the orange juice to the icing sugar until it is a thick, spreadable consistency.
Once the couronne has baked, transfer to a cooling rack and paint the orange icing onto the couronne liberally. Allow the couronne to cool and the icing to set before slicing.