Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Swedish Coffee Ring with Apricots and Almonds

BBB is a monthly baking adventure sponsored by a group of twelve women who call themselves the Bread Baking Babes. This month's host is Cookie Baker Lynn. She selected a recipe for a Christmas wreath that looks absolutely beautiful and it has an almond filling that guarantees it will be delicious. Despite a wonderful recipe, Lynn gave the babes and their buddies (that would be me) free reign to vary the dough and filling, but she did ask that the bread be shaped as a wreath. She didn't say a word about the name! Now in my book a wreath and a ring are the same thing, and Christmas had passed, so I altered the name a wee bit. The recipe Lynn choose had a marvelous sweet dough so I decided to use that, but after some thought I chose to use an apricot filling for my version of the coffee bread. It worked out nicely. The filling is less sweet than many, but additional sugar can be added to taste. The dough is wonderfully easy to work with and it withstood even my clumsy attempts at artistry. I didn't embarrass myself but if you want to see some beautiful creations take a look at the wreaths these women produced. I'm also sending this entry to Susan at Wild Yeast who hosts a weekly event called Yeast Spotting.

Swedish Coffee Ring with Apricots and Almonds

1 pound dried apricots
2 cups water
1 scant tablespoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1 cup sugar, divided use + additional sugar to taste
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 large egg + 1 egg yolk, divided use
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
3-1/4 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon orange liqueur
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 toasted almond slivers
Glaze (optional)

1) Place apricots and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil; remove from heat. Cover. Let stand for 2 hours.
2) Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. Place in bowl of an electric stand mixer; add milk, 1/4 cup sugar, butter, 1 egg, cardamom, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
3) Turn dough onto lightly floured surface: knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
4) Bring apricots and water back to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until apricots are soft, about 20 minutes. Transfer apricots and any remaining liquid to the bowl of a food processor. Puree. Add orange liqueur, lemon juice and reserved 3/4 cup sugar. Pulse to combine. Add additional sugar to taste. Set aside.
5) Punch down dough. Roll into rectangle, 15 x 9-inches, on a lightly floured surface. Spread with apricot filling to within 1/4-inch of the edges. Roll tightly, lengthwise. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal well. Stretch roll to make even. With sealed edge down, shape into ring on lightly greased cookie sheet. Pinch ends together.
6) With scissors or kitchen shears, make cuts 2/3 of way through the ring at 1-inch intervals. Turn each section on it's side (90 degree turn). Cover loosely with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray. Let rise until double, about 40 to 50 minutes.
7) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat reserved egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water. Liberally brush over ring. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake until golden brown, about 25 to 30 minutes.
8) To make optional glaze: Combine 1 cup confectioners' sugar with 1 tablespoon water and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Drizzle over cake.

Adapted from Betty Crocker's International Cookbook


Martha said...

This looks yummy! Of course, anything with almonds and apricots and yeast dough can't be bad!

Jenny said...

Just beautiful Mary! I love the picture, I can almost taste it from here! Happy New Year to you and your family!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Your ring is gorgeous! The apricot filling sounds like the perfect choice. Thanks for baking with us this month!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Lynn, my thanks to you and your eleven sisters for opening this event to a larger community.

Cathy said...

We had a similar bread when I was growing up that my mother called a swedish tea ring. And she always used a date/walnut filling.

Apricot sounds delicious. I must do better with the bread baking. You've inspired me.

Anonymous said...

The filling sounds so wonderful and the photo is gorgeous. Happy New Year Mary!

Anonymous said...

You did very well . Mary. Hope you will bake with us , BBB's , in the new year too !
Have a great 2009 !

Pam said...

You are so talented...this looks beautiful and tasty.

Happy New Year Mary.

The Blonde Duck said...

Aww! I love the idea of a bread baking group! That's so wonderful!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Hi Blonde Duck...I never got over the gold star syndrome! I love badges and ribbons and the champagne that goes with them.

Anonymous said...

How's art Mary! And what a neat group to be in. I can't wait to see more of your creations.

MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

Champagne! Did I miss the champagne? Um . . . we need to do something with champagne because your wreath does deserve a toast here!
I'm finding so many gorgeous fillings it seems unreal. I'm thinking different shapes too, like you know a heart.
Thanks for baking with us again Mary!

Karen Baking Soda said...

Apricots! How wonderful is that! Love the way your wreath looks and thanks for baking with us.

Anonymous said...

This looks beautiful. I'm so glad I came across your site, I love everything. All the best for 2009.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Hayley, I'm so glad you found us. Come back soon!

Mary Bergfeld said...

....and my thanks to all the BBB for letting me play with you. Happy New Year.

Anonymous said...

The ring turned out perfectly, and I LOVE the filling that you chose!

NKP said...

Your ring is absolutely beautiful!
It really is a breathtaking showstopper. I can't wait to try a sweet one.

Lisa said...

What a pretty Swedish Coffee Ring! A friend of mine has made these for me at Christmas time and they are so delicious.

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