I watch baking videos on my way to work and that is why I love to take the bus. This is the time I use to visualize, sketch and brain storm about my bakes and plan in my head about what I am going to tackles next. I thought of revisiting some of the older seasons of GBBO last week, and this couronne of Paul Hollywood took me in complete awe.
So, I created something in my head, that ticked the following boxes
- an enriched dough
- naturally leavened
- use my cranberry jam
- tastes and look festive
- indulging but packs a punch
And as a result, this recipe was born, last weekend. I didn’t know what to expect, up until the time I actually took a bite. Well, I couldn’t believe what I just put in my mouth! It was that good! If I eat this with my eyes closed, I wouldn’t know what to call this. It feels like a bit of mince pie, an orange pond cake, a frangipane tart and brioche all mingling in your mouth harmoniously.
I will mention what each component does in this couronne, so you can substitute these with your favorite things. But I seriously recommend you try this combo.
Homemade Cranberry jam – color, tartness cuts through the sweetness. It is chunky, so adds texture
Orange marzipan – adds fragrance from orange, adds sweetness and texture, keep the bake moist
Crystallized ginger – adds warmth, adds a punch
Sultana – texture, flavor of mince meat (Christmacy in other words)
Orange glaze – adds a shine to the finished product, keeps it moist for longer, enhance flavor
Here is the step by step process:
Get the sweet stiff starter mixed. Form in to a tough dough ball and place in a container, closed. Let this ferment until it is doubled in size. Could take between 8-12 hours depending on the room temp.(overnight works for me) If you wan to delay the process, place this in the fridge for a few hours to slow down.
I forgot to take a picture before opening up the fermented stiff starter ball. Here is an inside shot anyway. This is ready to be mixed with the dough now
Mix everything according to the recipe below to make the dough. Dough will be sticky. Notice there is no sugar in this dough, just in the starter. Once mixed, take it out on to a floured surface, and fold a few times to make it smooth, check the next image.
Once the dough is smooth like this, place it in a greased container, cover and place in a warm draft free area to ferment, until it is nearly doubled in size.
This is a good time to make the marzipan too. Use the same mixing ball, no need to wash it. Mix in all the ingredients in the recipe, and get it shaped nice and smooth like in this picture. Wrap this in cling wrap, and place in the fridge.
The dough is nearly doubled in size. (this took about 6 hours at 20 C) Now place this in the fridge for several hours. Time these to suite your schedule. It is alright to leave it out or in the fridge for couple of extra hours.
At this stage, the dough is too soft to handle. By placing in the fridge, this will firm up.
Final big step is to put all these together. Ready your jam, ginger, sultana and set aside. Take the dough out and let it soften a bit. In the meantime, roll the marzipan as thinly as possible. Use two parchment papers or use a Silpat like i did. The marzipan should be the same size as your dough sheet. Get it roughly to what you plan to get your dough at. If your kitchen is warm, place this in the fridge until you roll the dough.
Roll the dough on a well floured bench. The thickness shouldn’t be less than 3/4 of a centimeter. If you roll it too thin, it will break when you spread filling and also will tear when rolling.
Spread the jam on the dough. I use my fingers. A spatula may tear the dough underneath. Leave space here an there. Check the picture. And then scatter the sultana and ginger pieces.
Now lay the marzipan over the filling. Simply take the marzipan you rolled, take the top parchment paper off, tip it over the dough, so marzipan is facing the filling. Peel off the Silpat/parchment that was underneath.
Trim the marzipan edges if it overhangs. Press gently so it sticks to the filling.
Now roll the dough as you would do with a cinnamon roll. Flour your hands generously.
This step is similar to any babka, if you have made that before. Cut through the rolled dough, length wise, using a sharp knife. Turn the strands upwards. Twist the two strands to form a spiral. Try not to lose too much filling in this process.
Once twisted, form a ring with the dough by joining the two ends. Do this on the tray if you like. Or do it on the bench and carefully transfer it onto the tray. Now this has to rest/proof for a few hours. (3-4 hours I would say) You wouldn’t notice much difference in the size. But the dough will spring back when gently poked. The resting will help relax the dough.
Bake in a hot oven (410 F) for 40 minutes. If top start to burn, cover with a foil during the last 5-10 minutes
While the couronne is baking, get the orange glaze ready. Bring freshly squeezed orange juice and sugar to a boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes until thickens.
You can of course use apricot jam glaze instead.
Once the loaf is out of the oven, glaze while it is still hot. And then let it cool down on a wire rack
That is it! You can then decorate this however you like. You can drizzle this with white lemon icing or even royal icing for a fancier finish. Decorate with red and green cherries for an even better look! I kept is simple with some sugar coated cranberries, few rosemary ends and a light dusting of icing sugar.
You can of course, use mince meat instead of my cranberry filling.
Give this a go and leave a comment
Bon Appétit !!