Berry, Cherry & Almond Bread
Dried fruit is a bit of a Marmite; people either love or hate it. I really like it. As well as dried fruit I love the combination of cherries and almonds. There is something so sweet and succulent when the two flavours are paired which probably goes a long way to say I adore, nay obsessed, with anything Bakewell flavoured. Dried fruit can work out quite expensive especially when it comes to the more unusual mixes, but the berry & cherry mix I used in this recipe was a bargain 80p bag from Lidl.
We’ve been in our new house for a good few months now but today was the first time I’ve made any form of bread (pizza & calzone dough doesn’t count). This recipe uses one of my favourite enriched dough packed with egg, butter and a generous sprinkling of sugar. It’s a pleasure to work with and tastes just as good. What makes it even better is that the sugar melts out of the filling during baking and leaves a gorgeous hard caramel layer on the bottom of the bread.
At the moment we have a rule in the house: sweet, treat baked goods can only be made on special occasions. We have a big wedding to attend in the next few weeks and frankly I’m struggling to fit in my dress; at least I know my amazing Sheena Holland creation will fit. Today I have a good friend coming for a housewarming lunch so I think this is a suitable enough occasion to bake.
What you can’t tell from the photos is that I had to flake the almonds by hand as I realised I had run out and was too lazy to walk to the shops. This method is not exactly recommended. You need a very sharp knife, a steady hand and long fingerails to pin the almond down.
Berry, Cherry and Almond Bread
For the dough
- 225g strong white bread flour
- 25g soft light sugar
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 ½ tsp fast action yeast
- 90ml warm milk
- 25g softened butter
- 2 tsp almond extract
- 1 medium egg, beaten
For the filling
- 75ml cherry or berry juice (I use juice from a Ribena carton)
- 120g mixed dried berries (cherries, blueberries, cranberries and raisins)
- 25g butter, softened
- 30g soft light sugar
- 30g demerara sugar
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
For the topping
- 20g soft light sugar
- 25g softened butter
- 25g flaked almonds
- 50g icing sugar
- Put all the dried fruit in a saucepan with the berry juice. Bring to the boil then take off the heat. Allow the fruit to soak up the juice. When you are ready to use the fruit drain off any remaining juice.
- Combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a bowl. In a jug mix together the milk, softened butter, almond extract and beaten egg. Make a well in the centre of the flour then pour in the milky mix. Mix to make a soft dough then knead until smooth. The dough can seem a bit sticky. As tempting as it may be don’t add extra flour. The dough needs to be this silky, sticky texture.
- Cover the dough and prove until doubled in size. Due to the amount of yeast and sugar in the dough this does happen quite fast. On a warm day in my kitchen this can happen within 45 minutes.
- Lightly flour your work surface. Roll out the dough (no need to knock it back) to a rectangle measuring about 15 x 9 inches. If you get the edges as square as you can it will help when rolling the dough later.
- Dot the softened butter for the filling as evenly as you can over the dough. Sprinkle the two sugars, cinnamon and soaked fruit on top.
- Roll up the dough along the long edge, as though you were making a Swiss Roll. Turn the roll over so that the seal is underneath. Make a cut down almost the whole length of the roll. Twirl the two “legs” of the dough together then form into a round.
- Place the dough circle on a lined baking tray and leave to prove until the dough has doubled in size. Sprinkle the remaining soft light sugar and flaked almonds over the top of the buns then dot with the softened butter.
- Bake at 180°C, for 20-25 minutes until bread is risen and golden. Allow to cool on the baking tray.
- Mix the icing sugar with a small amount of boiled water to make a glace icing then drizzle this over the bread.