Dark Chocolate and Brazil Nut Couronne

A lot of my decisions about what to bake stem from a desire to use up something which has been lurking in my cupboard and in this case an abundance of yeast – seriously, I have ended up with a ridiculous amount of yeast – prompted me to make some sweet bread, instead of the usual cake. I also had a day off from university for which I had no plans and not even much work that needed doing. Thus it seemed like the perfect time to embark on an ambitious baking project, deliberately forgetting of course that my previous attempts to find my inner Bake Off contestant have been quite underwhelming.

This couronne recipe is inspired by that found in Ruby Tandoh’s Crumb, a recipe I’ve been wanting to try out since I got her book last year but have never felt it was a momentous enough occasion to try it out. Having decided that a seminar free Thursday is as good an occasion as any, I set about veganising the couronne. The original recipe uses white chocolate and hazelnuts, but I replaced the former with easily found dairy free dark chocolate and swapped the latter for Brazil nuts simply because they’re currently cheaper and I happened to already have some in the kitchen. I also swapped almond essence for vanilla essence, again because I already had some and couldn’t be bothered to go shopping before I baked; it really is amazing how much of my baking is ruled by laziness. As if to illustrate that point further, I changed the 60g butter used in the original recipe’s filling for 30g dairy free spread and 30g sunflower oil as I’d run out of spread, but if you’re less lazy than me or just have a more plentiful supply of dairy free spread you might as well go ahead and do it all with the butter substitute.

 

For the couronne

300g plain flour

1 ½ tsp yeast

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar

200ml soy milk

¼ tsp vanilla

30g dairy free spread

Zest of a lemon

 

For the filling

30g dairy free spread

30g sunflower oil

40g brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

100g chopped dark chocolate

50g brazil nuts

 

  • Warm the milk and vanilla over a low heat until tepid, whilst combining the flour, yeast, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Add the milk and vanilla to the dry ingredients along with the spread and lemon zest.
  • Mix to combine all the ingredients, then knead for around five minutes. Leave the dough to prove for 1-1 ½ hours, or until it has roughly doubled in size.

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  • For the filling, beat the butter, oil, sugar and vanilla into a smooth, spreadable paste. Roast the Brazil nuts until a pale brown, then roughly chop them.
  • Roll the dough out into a rectangle on a floured surface so that the dough is about ½ cm thick. Spread the filling over the dough and scatter over the nuts and chopped chocolate.
  • Roll the dough up tightly along the longest edge, then transfer the roll to a greased and lined baking tray. Although the next bit seems tricky, it is doable without too much problem. With a sharp knife cut the roll into two pieces lengthwise, leaving about 2cm of the dough connected at one end. Turn the two sections so that the open side is facing upwards, then twist them over each other, placing one piece over the other. Curve the twist you’ve made round into a circle on the tray. Then cut through the end of the roll that you didn’t split at the beginning and twist these bits together, finally attaching this to the other end of the circle, completing the ring. Leave to prove for another 45-60 mins, or until about 1 ½ times its original size. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas 4.
  • Brush the risen couronne with soy milk and bake it for 20-30 mins, or until golden brown. Leave to cool on the tray for about 10 mins before transferring to another surface to cool.

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