9 September 2012

Marzipan Twist - 'Marzipanzopf'

After a fairly long break I am back and ready to do more baking. We spent an excellent couple of weeks hiking and climbing in the Bavarian/Austrian Alps, mostly in a region called the Allgäu and Tirol. This is one of my favourite holiday destinations, partially because it is connected with a lot of childhood memories and family holidays, but also because the hiking and mountaineering there is amazing. It is a bit touristy, but not too crowded and it is absolutely beautiful. Our base was a sweet little town called Oberstdorf and we also spent a few days in the more famous Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Now I am back in the somewhat less scenic East Midlands (bless!) and slowly getting used to staring at a computer screen again for the majority of my waking hours... From experience I know that in a couple of weeks (or even days) it will feel like I have never even been away, but for the time being a bit of comfort food is called for. My holiday inspired me to bake and cook some regional specialties, such as Apfelstrudel and Germknödel. But the first ‘welcome back’ recipe is a sweet bread filled with marzipan and nuts. The thought of having this for breakfast always helps me get up early in the morning. The recipe makes one large loaf, which also freezes well.

For the bread dough:
500 g plain flour
20 g fresh yeast (or one sachet dry)
250 ml milk
1 egg
60 g butter

For the filling:
200 g marzipan
200 g ground almonds
2 tablespoons amaretto
4 tablespoons crème fraiche
1 egg
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (for colour, optional)

To brush before baking:
1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of milk

Put the flour in a bowl. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm milk and pour on top of the flour. Leave for about 20 minutes. Now add the egg and the melted butter and knead until you have a smooth ball of dough (you can add a bit more flour if it is too sticky, but not too much!). Leave to rise in a bowl covered with a dish towel for about 30 minutes or until it has visibly increased in size. Stretch and fold the dough and leave to rise again.

In the meantime, make the filling. Mix all the ingredients well (I put everything in a food processor and whizzed it until I had a sticky paste). Put aside until the dough is ready.
Roll out the dough to a square about 40 x 40 cm and then cut it in half. Add half of the filling each in a strip down the middle of both rectangles and then fold over the dough from both sides to get two long sausage shapes. Twist the two sausage shapes around each other and put on a baking tray covered in baking paper. Leave to rise while you preheat the oven to about 200 degrees. When the oven is hot brush the bread with the egg and milk mixture and bake for about 40 minutes.  

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