Weekend Cook: Make our sticky gingerbread caramel curd bread
PUBLISHED: 10:00 01 February 2020
Warm up over breakfast with a slice of this sticky, gooey, spiced enriched bread filled with flavours from northern Europe.
In our household there are two prime 'seasons' for 'stuff in jars'. Mid to late summer, when our fridge is never without ripe strawberry jam, with copious amounts of scones coming out of the kitchen - they're shockingly quick to rustle up midweek.
And around about now. Marmalade time. I have to confess, I'm a late bloomer when it comes to Paddington's favourite preserve. I'm sure I'm not the only one who's recollection of the orange stuff from childhood is largely associated with that famous big name brand, which to me tasted bitter, slimy and heinous. I have though in recent years grown a fondness for it, not least because I've discovered all the luscious locally made varieties, ranging from thin cut with whisky, to bergamot and lime.
Sat perched at my dining table of a weekend, gazing into the garden and praying for spring, the late winter sun shines into whichever jar I have out at the time, illuminating the crystalline jelly and its citrusy tendrils. To me, that's a sign that warmer, longer days are coming. The taste, too, is a promise of sunshine. Slathered over crisp toast, marmalade is sweet, vibrant and, in its own little way, jolly.
Last week I was sent a few samples of marmalade and preserves from Tiptree and Thursday Cottage. Nestled in amongst them the most curious and deliciously tempting spread I've come across for a while - gingerbread salted caramel curd. So while I had planned on using up the last of the thin cut from the jar for this weekend's bake, interest fully piqued by this new discovery, I had to find a way to use it.
And it was in this, a bread which pays homage to a rather trashy dessert I used to love. 'Back in the day', on her weekly jaunts to Sainsbury's my mum used to pick up a frozen strudel-type pud from, I think, Sara Lee. It consisted of raw pastry, twisted with a spiced caramel sauce. Twenty minutes or so in the oven rendered it sticky and endlessly additive. Do you remember it? Can you still buy it? Let me know. Anyway, Thursday Cottage's new curd, infused with ginger, and whirled into an enriched cinnamon dough, tastes pretty darn similar. Served warm with a cup of coffee on a weekend morning it's like a big fat spicy hug. If you can't find the curd (Thursday Cottage supply East of England Co-op stores, independent food shops, delis and farm shops) simply mix dulce de leche or Tiptree caramel with ginger to taste.
Twisted sticky ginger and caramel bread
(makes 1 loaf)
265g white bread flour
50g unrefined caster sugar
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1 sachet yeast
1 small egg and 1 small egg yolk
60-80ml warm water
75g unsalted butter, softened
1.5tsps ground cinnamon
1 small jar Thursday Cottage Gingerbread Salted Caramel spread
50g pecan nuts toasted and roughly chopped (optional)
4tbsps caster sugar mixed with 2tbsps hot water to glaze.
Mix the flour, yeast, sugar, eggs, water, butter and cinnamon together into a dough. Leave for 10 minutes for the flour to absorb the liquid then knead for 10 to 15 minutes on a lightly floured surface until smooth and bouncy. Pop into a greased bowl, cover and leave in a warm place to rise for a minimum of four hours but up to 10. Punch the dough back then roll out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle of 38cm by 28cm. Spread generously with the curd, leaving a 1cm gap around the edges and sprinkle with the nuts if you're using them. Then roll up into a tight sausage shape from one of the long sides. Now, using a sharp knife cut all the way down the middle of the length of the bread to separate it. You should have two long layered pieces of dough. Press the two ends at the bottom together firmly and, with the cut side of each piece of dough facing up, twist the pieces around one another to form a rope then form the rope into a circle, pressing the ends together to seal and tucking them under for a neat finish.
Pop onto a greased tray, cover with a teatowel and leave in a warm place to rise for another hour. Pre-heat the oven to 170C and bake for 20 to 30 minutes - how long it takes depends on how 'fast' your oven is - they're all slightly different. While the bread cooks mix the sugar and water for the glaze together. Two minutes before the bread comes out of the oven brush it all over with the glaze and return to the oven.
Allow to cool slightly before eating warm - but be careful, the curd is hot (don't burn your tongue in impatience like I did).