My December issue of GoodFood magazine arrived and as every year this is the Christmas issue, full of delicious recipes and ideas. I always want to start baking right away when I get it, but a lot of recipes are for a crowd and this is one of those. So I had to wait for a crowd first, but that’s usually not a big worry. This recipe serves 12 and is by Paul Hollywood, BBC’s Great British Bake Off judge.
You need a lot of time for this one because it requires rising. You even need to start the night before: chop 120 g dried apricots and put them in a bowl with 150 ml orange juice to soak overnight.
The next day, make the dough by putting 250 g strong white bread flour in a bowl with 1 tsp salt, 50 g softened butter, 100 ml milk, 10 g dried yeast and 1 large egg and mix together to form a dough. Knead for 6 min. The recipe suggests turning it out on a floured surface and kneading by hand, but the dough is incredibly sticky, so I suggest using electric dough mixers instead and keeping the dough in your bowl. If not, you’ll be adding flour for 6 min to reduce the sticking and it won’t even make much of a difference! Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl (if you used the mixer, it’s already in one so you can leave it). Cover with cling film and set aside to rise in a warm place (aka on the heating) for 1 hr.
Meanwhile, drain the apricots. In a mixing bowl, cream 90 softened butter and 70 g light muscovado sugar until fluffy. Mix in the apricots, 35 g plain flour, 60 g raisins, 65 g chopped walnuts and the grated zest of 1 orange.
Turn the risen dough out on a floured surface and roll into a rectangle, about 25×33 cm. If your dough is still extremely sticky (as was mine), just use floured hands to flatten it into a rectangle and forget about the rolling pin altogether. Evenly spread over the apricot mix. Roll out 200 g marzipan to a same size rectangle and lay it on top (if you’re not a big marzipan fan, you can easily leave it out, your twist will still be very very tasty). Roll up the rectangle tightly like a swiss roll (or try to make it look like that even if the dough is too sticky to roll). Now cut lengthways along the roll, leaving 1 end joined. Twist 2 lengths together, then shape into a ring on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Set aside to rise for 1 hr.
Heat the oven to 180 C and bake the twist for 30 min until risen and dark golden. Towards the end of the baking time, gently warm 50 g apricot jam (in a small pan or in the microwave). Brush the freshly baked loaf with the warm jam to glaze it, then set aside to cool (you can omit this step if you don’t have any jam – I did have jam but just forgot it, and it tasted great anyway). Once cool, mix 150 g icing sugar with enough water to make a runny icing and drizzle the twist heavily with the runny icing. Great for a boxing day brunch or just for any Sunday of the year really. Enjoy!