The Tastebud Traveler
-Always learn, always travel.
For week 1 of my Desserts of the World Challenge - 52 Desserts in 52 Weeks, I'm beginning in the usual me fashion - there are only two rules and I'm breaking one. I decided to make a Couronne. Therein lies the rule breaking- its mostly a bread and only slightly a cake. However, if you had seen the lovely (for the recipe click here ➡️) Mon Petit Fours blog post on Pinterest for a Cranberry and Pecan Courrone you will definitely see why the rule needed breaking.
Couronne comes from the Bordeaux region of France (see above),which also has some fancy red wines you MIGHT have heard tell of a time or two. It means Crown, and seems, from a cursory Google search, to be often savory, sometimes made up of small rolls shaped into a circle (hence the crown name), and is often made from the same dough as a baguette. They are of the sweet variety and is usually a Christmas loaf. A popular choice is by Paul Hollywood of The Great British Bake Off. I chose Mon Petit Fours recipe because her photos looked SOOO scrumptious. Lets find out how it went!
The ingredients are fairly simple and straight forward. I was lucky enough to have some super fresh pecans delivered by my father-in-law straight from the source (pecan farms in South Georgia, USA).
Mixing involved a fairly common yeast/milk/sugar starter added to flour and salt for the dough (and an egg yolk). After proofing one hour it was ready to roll out. This dough rolled out super smoothly and in a minute it was ready for the Frangipane.
A short digression, Frangipane is very similar to Marzipan in that they are both made using almond flour. however Marzipan is made like a candy and can be molded into all sorts of shapes and Frangipane is more creamy and used as a filling.
This Frangipane, is butter and sugar creamed with an added egg. Then almond flour added in makes it something like a paste and Cognac (another shout out to yummy things made in France!) in for taste.
After spreading the Frangipane onto the dough you sprinkle in the pecans, cranberries, and orange zest. Then, we were ready for the rolling, cutting, braiding and circling which seemed super complicated, but thanks to a super helpful YouTube video, it really wasn't that hard, but turned out to be the most fun part of the process.
At this point in the process of making a Couronne you are super proud of yourself because this thing looks like a total showstopper.
Its very clear why a Couronne is a special occasion bread….. it will definitely make those Stepford Wives neighbors of yours respect your cooking props.
30 minutes in the oven.
15 minutes into cooking and I do a visual check of my masterpiece (take that perfect housewives). Wait a minute….. things are not looking so hot. its spread out MUCH bigger than it started and the frangipane is escaping. My confidence is waning.
"Whew" after 30 minutes it held itself together and it managed to stay mostly a crown and has browned nicely. - I will probably have to wait for another occasion to win the respect of my baking-wife peers.
Now for the taste! Instructions said, wait until cool to cut, but in my impatience to dig in, I cut it warm, and I'm not sure that was a mistake. It was warm, bready & fabulous! Since the base is a yeast dough it has a cinnamon bun/coffee cake airiness which sets it apart from something pastry dough based. The Frangipane is a perfect addition of texture and moisture and the toppings add just the right amount of flavor. This would be great for breakfast or as a afternoon tea/coffee pairing.
Rating: 90% of the reason you should make a trip to France.
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