Raisins.

Another Bake Off inspired creation, and this time not a hint of apricot…

Here’s a recipe for some delicious little Swedish buns. Strictly speaking I’m a couple of months early, as Lussekatter, also known as St. Lucia Buns, are traditionally baked on December 13th, St. Lucy’s Day.

They were baked by Ruby (who I’ve got to admit to being a little bit in love with) on the latest episode of The Great British Bake Off as one of her two ‘Showstopper’ European buns. She also made kanelbullar (also Swedish) which I might have a go at next.

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Lussekatter

(Makes 32 buns)

Ingredients:

200g unsalted butter

450ml milk

2 teaspoons dried fast-action yeast

1 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten + and extra one for the tops of the buns

165g caster sugar

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, chopped

900g plain flour

64 raisins

Method:

1. Melt the butter over a medium heat. Add the milk and heat until lukewarm.

2. Add to a large mixing bowl, then add the egg, sugar, saffron and salt. Then add the flour and yeast, and bring the mixture together into a dough, which should be fairly sticky.

3. Knead briefly – it doesn’t knead needing (geddit?) for a long time like a regular bread dough would. Cover the bowl and leave until the dough has doubled in size.

4. Knock back the dough, and divide into 32 pieces. Because I’m fussy I weighed mine all out, and they came out at just over 50g each. Using your hands, roll each piece out to a length of around 20cm, and bend it into an s shape, tucking the two ends in. Lay the 32 lussekatter out on baking sheets lined with baking paper. I managed to get them onto two regular sized sheets.

5. Cover (a bin liner works well) and allow to rise for around 40 minutes, while the oven preheats to 200C (180C if a fan oven).

6. Add two raisins to each lussekatter, pressing them gently into the two holes created by the s shape of the dough. Brush the tops of the buns with egg. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden.

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Apricot.

I hate dried apricots, the horrible little wrinkly bags of evil. Or at least I thought I did. So it has come as a bit of a surprise to find myself adding apricots to all sorts of things recently, from cakes to flapjacks. And even more surprisingly, I’ve loved the results.

So here’s my apology to apricots, for the hard time I’ve given them. I’ve made Paul Hollywood’s apricot couronne, as featured on this week’s episode of The Great British Bake Off.

A couronne is a yeasted bread, which after an initial prove is rolled out flat, given a layer of filling, and then rolled up tightly like a swiss roll. This is then sliced lengthways, producing two long strands of dough, each with an exposed side of filling. The two strands are twisted together before baking.

I’ve included the recipe below – it isn’t mine, and belongs to Paul Hollywood. It can also be found here.

I still think apricots are evil, but concede that in certain circumstances they do taste delicious…

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Makes 1 large crown loaf

You will need: 1 large baking sheet, lined with baking paper

For the dough:

250g strong white bread flour

5g salt

1 x 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast

50g unsalted butter, softened

105ml full-fat milk, at room temperature

1 medium egg, at room temperature

For the filling:

90g unsalted butter, softened

70g light brown muscovado sugar

120g ready-to-eat dried apricots, chopped and soaked in 100ml orange juice

35g plain flour

60g raisins

65g walnut pieces

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

To finish:

50g apricot jam

100g icing sugar, sifted

25g flaked almonds

1. To make the dough, tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt to the bowl on one side and the yeast to the other. Add the soft butter, milk and egg and turn the mixture round with your fingers, using them like a paddle. Keep doing this, mixing until you’ve picked up all of the flour from the sides of the bowl. Use the mixture to clean the inside of the bowl, picking up all the scraps, and keep going until you have a ball of soft dough.

2. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured worktop and knead for 10-12 minutes: work through the initial ‘wet’ stage until the dough starts to develop a soft, smooth skin. When the dough feels smooth and silky put it into a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover the bowl with a dry tea towel and leave to rise for about 1 hour until doubled in size.

3. While the dough is rising, make the filing. Put the soft butter, sugar, drained apricots, flour, raisins, walnuts and zest into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside until needed.

4. Turn the risen dough on to the lightly floured worktop. Without punching it down to deflate, roll it out to a rectangle about 25 x 33cm. If necessary turn the dough around so you have a long edge closest to you. Spread the apricot filling mixture evenly over the dough, then roll up like a swiss roll – tack down the edge nearest to you, so it won’t move, then roll up the dough from the other long edge towards you so get a really tight roll. Roll it back and forth lightly to seal the ‘seam’, then cut it lengthways in half. (You can keep one end attached, which will make it easier to shape).

5. Twist the two strands of dough together, then twist the 2 ends together to finish the ‘crown’. Carefully transfer the crown to the prepared baking sheet. Put the sheet inside a large plastic bag and leave to prove for 30-45 minutes until the dough springs back quickly when you prod it lightly with a fingertip.

6. While the dough is rising heat your oven to 200C/400F/gas 6. When the couronne is ready for baking, uncover the baking sheet and place in the oven. Bake for 25-35 minutes until risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack.

7.   Gently heat the apricot jam with a splash of water, then push it through a sieve into a bowl. Quickly brush over the warm loaf to glaze. Mix the icing sugar with enough water to make a thin icing. Drizzle over the loaf and sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Leave to cool.