In the words of Emma, Alice vs The Great British Bake Off is back!! (In a very picture heavy post)
I realise that I'm wildly behind with these technical bakes I'm insisting on making, but this way, I still get Bake Off enjoyment after it finishes on Tuesday (sob sob). As an aside, I think Kimberley will win, but I want Ruby to- it makes me sad that she's received so much bad press for a) being beautiful (it made me SO angry when a paper said last week that she's only got this far because Paul Hollywood likes her because she's pretty- it completely negates the fact that actually, her bakes are always good- she's won Star Baker three times for goodness sake!) and b) for putting herself down and crying a lot. Come on- it's a very British thing to be self deprecating, isn't it!? I can guarantee that if I were on The Great British Bake Off I would cry nearly every week, and would take my efforts to Paul and Mary going "Oh it's really not very good, I'm so sorry...". So consider that fair warning for if I ever apply for the show.
I have now made an apricot couronne, which is a delicious sort of sweet dough (not a sweetbread, very different!) filled with apricots, walnuts, and raisins. As I mentioned when I made English muffins, I'm not a bread maker- and that extended to sweet dough. But after this, I think I might be trying it more often.
I used Paul Hollywood's recipe, as always, and again, found it quite straightforward because I didn't have half the instructions missing, or a team of cameramen staring at me. And I'm actually getting used to this whole "waiting for bread to prove" thing- it really isn't that annoying, and if I'd been sensible, I'd have gone for a run while it was completing its first prove (as it was, I made the filling and watched an episode of Friends).
The things I found most difficult about this bake were being patient (as always), the initial twisting of the two ropes of dough (I was worried about it not being tight enough, and the ends stretching), and getting the twisted crown onto my baking sheet. Seriously, my one tip would be to twist the dough into a long rope, put your baking tray under the middle of the rope, then turn it onto a crown on the baking tray, rather than on the counter top. Just trust me, OK?!
I would actually say that this is one of the best bits of bread/ sweet dough making I've ever made. It's delicious, soft, well baked (even if I do say so myself). If I were being critical, I don't think I rolled it tightly enough when I made it into a swiss roll, I didn't put enough icing on, and I obviously missed out the flaked almonds, but hey- it isn't as dreadful as it could have been.