- 120g salted butter, plus extra to serve
- 1/3 cup (80ml) milk
- 1/3 cup (75g) caster sugar
- 2 2/3 cups (400g) plain flour
- 1 tablespoon (7g) dried instant yeast
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup (125g) glace apricots, chopped (see note) (or other glace fruits, such as cherries)
- 1/3 cup (55g) candied citrus peel
- 1-2 tablespoons flaked almonds
- Step 1Melt butter with milk and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Cool until lukewarm.
- Step 2Place flour and yeast in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook, and pulse to combine. Add the beaten egg, reserving 1 tablespoon to brush, and the milk mixture, then beat for 5-10 minutes until you have a soft, elastic dough.
- Step 3Turn out onto a floured bench and shape into a rough rectangle. Scatter with one quarter each of the glacé fruit and peel, then fold sides of the dough into the centre like a letter. Repeat steps until all the fruit and peel are incorporated. Knead gently for 1-2 minutes to distribute fruit evenly.
- Step 4Form dough into a ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a lightly oiled piece of plastic wrap, then stand in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
- Step 5Line a large baking tray with a silicone baking sheet. (If you don’t have one, stack two large baking trays and line the top tray with a double layer of baking paper.)
- Step 6Place dough on a floured board. Divide into 6 pieces and roll each into a fat strand, about 35cm long and 2.5cm in diameter, slightly tapering the ends.
- Step 7Lay 3 strands side-by-side on the baking sheet, with a small space between each. Form into a plait, tucking the ends under. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover again, and stand for a further 1 hour or until almost doubled. (A fingertip pressed gently into the dough should leave an impression; if the hole fills quickly, it needs more time.)
- Step 8Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush the loaves with reserved egg and top with flaked almonds. Bake for 25-30 minutes until lightly golden. (Rotate the tray halfway through cooking time, if needed, to ensure even baking). Cool on a wire rack, then serve with butter, if desired.
Glacé apricots are available from gourmet food shops and delis. Across Europe, plaited sweet breads laced with fruit are made for Easter and other celebrations. The dough is quite sticky in the early stages of kneading, so I use a stand mixer. These are best eaten on the day, or sliced and toasted.
- Author: Kylie Walker
- Image credit: Ben Dearnley
- Publication: Taste.com.au