Spiced Plum & Marzipan Braid

spiced plum & marzipan braid

I spent a good portion of this week taking apart a couple of wooden pallets (which is bloody hard work!), sanding the boards down and staining and painting them to make a couple of new photography backdrops. The process wasn’t helped by the fact that my belt sander died a death whilst sanding the very first board so I was forced to do the rest using a detail sander, which wasn’t quite up to the job. It took me hours and I didn’t manage to get them quite as smooth as I would have liked. However, I am happy with the ones that I have painted so I needed to bake something to try them out!

spiced plum & marzipan bread braid

I had some marzipan left over from Christmas baking that needed to be used up, and a big punnet of plums and was in the mood to do some bread baking, so a spiced plum and marzipan braided bread loaf was the result! One of my favourite ways to bake is to simply see what I’ve got in the cupboard and try to come up with something without having to go out and buy ingredients. (I do keep quite a well stocked cupboard and always make sure I have the baking basics – flour, sugar, butter and eggs).

spiced plum & almond plaited loaf

Plum and almond is a classic pairing and a match made in heaven, combined with the warm spices and soft, buttery, vanilla scented dough it is truly delicious. The smell while it was baking was gorgeous and it is utterly moreish, I’m not going to lie, I have eaten at least a third of the loaf so far today…

spiced plum & marzipan braided bread

It is a fairly simple recipe to make, and can be done over the course of two days if you prefer – the dough and compote can be made one day and refrigerated overnight once the dough has risen a bit, and then assembled, left to prove and baked in the morning; so it’s a good loaf to bake for a weekend breakfast. You could make it even simpler by using a good quality jam instead of the compote – it doesn’t have to be plum jam, cherry would work particularly well.

I’ve got a fair bit of work left to do to make a dark wood photography backdrop, but I am very happy with how my photos turned out on this white one and it is a definite improvement!

spiced plum & marzipan braided bread loaf

Spiced Plum & Marzipan Braid

(Please note: although I have provided a conversion from grams to US cup measurements I cannot guarantee the accuracy as I do not bake using cups, I thoroughly recommend investing in a digital metric scale, it is far more accurate.)

Dough:

  • 50g (scant 1/4 cup) unsalted butter
  • 130ml (1/2 cup + 1 tbsp) full fat milk
  • 300g (2 + 1/2 cups) strong white bread flour
  • 7g (2 tsp) fast action yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 50g (1/4 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Filling:

  • about 300g (10.5 oz) plums
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 allspice berries
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 200g (7 oz) marzipan
  • 1 egg, beaten, to glaze
  • demerara or pearl sugar for sprinkling

To make the dough, gently heat the butter and milk together in a small pan until the butter is just melted, set aside to cool until lukewarm. Place the bread flour in a large bowl, add the yeast to one side and the salt and sugar to the other. Crack in the egg and add the cooled milk mixture and vanilla extract, mix it all together until it forms a shaggy dough then turn out onto an un-floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. The dough will be sticky at first but resist the temptation to add extra flour, it will become smooth after a minute or two of kneading (you may need to scrape it off the surface with a dough scraper). Of  course you can knead it in a stand mixer if you have one.

Place the dough in a clean, lightly oiled bowl, cover, and set aside to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. Once risen, you can place the dough in the fridge overnight and continue the bake in the morning if you wish.

While the dough is rising make the compote. Chop the plums into quarters if they are small, or eights if they are large, remove the stones and place the chopped plums in a small pan with the spices, a tablespoon of sugar and a teaspoon of water. Bring up to a simmer and cook until the plums have broken down into a puree. Mix the cornflour with about a teaspoon of cold water, add to the plum mixture and cook for another minute or so until thickened. Remove from the heat, taste, add another tablespoon of sugar if needed and set aside until cool. The compote can be made the day before baking and stored in the fridge.

If you refrigerated the dough overnight, take it out of the fridge and leave it for about half an hour to come up to room temperature. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into an approximately 10×15 inch rectangle. Transfer the rectangle onto a piece of baking parchment and place on a baking tray. Roll the marzipan out into a sausage then flatten it, it should measure about 12×2.5 inches, place the marzipan along the centre of the rectangle of dough, there should be about an extra 1.5 inches of dough at either end.

marzipan

Spread the cooled plum compote (remove the spices first) on top of the marzipan, you may not need to use all of it. Cut the dough surrounding the filling into diagonal strips about 1 1/2 inches wide making sure to leave a border of uncut dough around the filling, there should be the same number of strips on either side. Fold both ends up, then cross the cut strips of dough over the filling, alternating sides so that it looks like its been braided.

plum braid

Loosely cover the dough with cling film and leave it to rise in a warm place until it is puffy and springs back slowly when you press it gently with a finger – about 30-45 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. When the dough is ready to bake, gently brush it all over with beaten egg and sprinkle with demerara sugar.

plum marzipan braid

Bake for 30-40 minutes until golden and cooked through, cover with tin foil after 15 minutes or so to stop it from turning too dark. Gently slide the baked loaf on to a wire rack (it is delicate when warm) and leave to cool before slicing.

I am sharing this with Showcase Your Talent Thursdays, Totally Talented Tuesdays, Create Link Inspire, Foodie Fridays, Fiesta Friday and Foodie Friends Friday

Link up your recipe of the week
Casa Costello

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65 Comments on Spiced Plum & Marzipan Braid

  1. Butter, Basil and Breadcrumbs
    January 15, 2015 at 8:46 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh if only I could bake something as pretty… I love this. It sounds so delicious, and is just so SO pretty! <3

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 4:54 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Prudy 🙂 x

      Reply
  2. Carrie C.
    January 16, 2015 at 5:23 am (2 years ago)

    That looks so delicious! And your food photography is gorgeous.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 4:55 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂

      Reply
  3. Hilda
    January 16, 2015 at 5:59 am (2 years ago)

    Your photos on the white boards look very good indeed. It was worth the effort. And what a beautiful loaf to premiere your new backdrop!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 4:55 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 I am quite pleased with them!

      Reply
  4. The Free From Fairy
    January 16, 2015 at 12:51 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh my goodness that looks and sounds incredible. I love the photos and I am dying to give this a go gluten and dairy-free! Am pinning it to my board of recipes to try and adapt! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 4:56 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you!

      Reply
  5. MB @ Bourbon and Brown Sugar
    January 16, 2015 at 1:30 pm (2 years ago)

    I so need to make a few new backdrops… yours look fantastic! A perfect compliment to that gorgeous bread!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 4:57 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 They can be really hard work to make but it definitely makes a huge difference to the photos

      Reply
  6. sarahgiebens
    January 16, 2015 at 3:53 pm (2 years ago)

    Wow this looks amazing! I love marzipan! No wait, that’s an understatement!
    I wish I could have a bread or two of that ^^
    Happy FF!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 5:01 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 I love marzipan too, I would happily eat a block of it…

      Reply
      • sarahgiebens
        January 17, 2015 at 5:04 pm (2 years ago)

        Oh me too! I can eat a kilo in less than a week…

        Reply
  7. Jhuls
    January 16, 2015 at 4:18 pm (2 years ago)

    Hanna, this is so beautiful. <3
    It sounds that you had a hard time, but I know that all the not-so-good things happened were gone when this bread came to life. 😀 Happy FF! See you ate next week's FF for it's first anniversary.

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 5:03 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Jhuls 🙂 It was hard work and a long time in the making but was definitely worth the effort!

      Reply
  8. Lynn | The Road to Honey
    January 16, 2015 at 4:28 pm (2 years ago)

    The wood backdrop looks great. . .definitely worth the blood, sweat and tears. And dare I say that is one of the most gorgeous loafs of bread I have ever laid eyes on.
    http://www.theroadtohoney.com

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 5:04 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you! 🙂

      Reply
  9. cookingwithauntjuju.com
    January 16, 2015 at 4:33 pm (2 years ago)

    What a pretty bread inside and out! Good for you to make your own backdrops – I need to find someone who will do that for me. Thanks for bringing this bread (love marzipan too) to Angie’s FF #51. #52 next week 🙂

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 5:07 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 It is quite hard work (if you’re trying to do it cheaply :P) if you can find someone to make some for you that’s great!

      Reply
  10. Julie is HostessAtHeart
    January 16, 2015 at 5:54 pm (2 years ago)

    Palettes are such very tough to sand, but your back drop came out great! I love this bread. It is just gorgeous. A perfect baptism for your new back drop. Your pictures came out great!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 5:08 pm (2 years ago)

      Yep, my little sander is not quite up to it! I am quite pleased with the results despite the hard work though!

      Reply
  11. Thalia @ butter and brioche
    January 16, 2015 at 8:47 pm (2 years ago)

    I can only imagine how delicious this braid must have been.. love anything filled with marzipan!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 5:16 pm (2 years ago)

      It was delicious…I ate nearly the whole loaf myself…

      Reply
  12. chefjulianna
    January 16, 2015 at 9:23 pm (2 years ago)

    Amazingly beautiful!! And I know that it is oh, so delicious! Gorgeous photography too! 😀

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 5:25 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Julianna 🙂

      Reply
  13. woodkitchen
    January 17, 2015 at 12:26 am (2 years ago)

    That looks so delicious! Well down!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 5:27 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you!

      Reply
  14. Fae's Twist & Tango
    January 17, 2015 at 5:01 am (2 years ago)

    Beautiful and delectable braid, very nice presentation. Thank you. 🙂

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 5:27 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂

      Reply
  15. Giramuk's Kitchen
    January 17, 2015 at 2:41 pm (2 years ago)

    I love baking bread! This is definitely something I would want to give a go. The plum filling looks beautiful! Im trying to find some wooden surfaces to use as photography backdrops too! It makes a big difference to have a good sturdy backdrop you can move around! The photos look stunning 🙂

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 5:30 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 Bread is my favourite thing to bake, I find it very therapeutic!

      Reply
  16. Mandi
    January 17, 2015 at 3:19 pm (2 years ago)

    Holy smokes this looks good. I LOVE marzipan and plums. And by the way, your pictures look incredible 🙂

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 5:30 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 It’s one of my favourite combinations too

      Reply
  17. Michelle @ Giraffes Can Bake
    January 17, 2015 at 4:50 pm (2 years ago)

    Ooh this braid looks so good, such a wonderful combination of flavours.
    I love the new backdrop too, before I even started reading your post I was thinking about how jealous of that backdrop I was!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 17, 2015 at 5:27 pm (2 years ago)

      Thanks Michelle 🙂 I’m quite pleased with it, I want to make a couple more in different colours though so I’ve still got a lot of work to do!

      Reply
  18. skd
    January 18, 2015 at 5:57 pm (2 years ago)

    This looks so dainty

    Reply
  19. annareid1
    January 19, 2015 at 1:44 am (2 years ago)

    Ooh. This is gorgeous and looks so tasty! The boards came out great too!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 21, 2015 at 9:36 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you!

      Reply
  20. sebsmummy
    January 20, 2015 at 9:19 am (2 years ago)

    This is absolutely beautiful!! #tastyTuesday

    Reply
  21. Dragons And Fairy Dust
    January 20, 2015 at 10:05 am (2 years ago)

    Loving your photo background, definitely worth the effort. The bread looks really tasty. I will have to try a plaited loaf

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 21, 2015 at 9:42 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 yeah it was worth the effort! It’s nice to have a proper surface to take photos on rather than just my kitchen table and some bits of card!

      Reply
  22. Coombe Mill
    January 20, 2015 at 12:46 pm (2 years ago)

    totally in awe. Way too much fiddling for me but it looks amazing! One day, I’ll try something like this! #TastyTuesday

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 21, 2015 at 9:45 am (2 years ago)

      I like making fiddly, complicated things! 🙂

      Reply
  23. ciaraattwell
    January 20, 2015 at 10:23 pm (2 years ago)

    This looks so good. And amazing photography. Am pinning right now!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 21, 2015 at 9:46 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you!

      Reply
  24. Laura @ Life with Baby Kicks
    January 21, 2015 at 8:00 am (2 years ago)

    The boards are beautiful. And the loaf sounds delicious, maybe I’ll try with cherry in a sort of cherry bake well tribute!

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 21, 2015 at 9:47 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 I used plums because that’s what I had, but I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that it would be even nicer with cherry…

      Reply
  25. Laura @ life with baby kicks
    January 21, 2015 at 8:04 am (2 years ago)

    Also – am I being stupid or is there an easy way to pin this so I can give it a go!! I am fairly sure it’s me being stupid

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 21, 2015 at 9:52 am (2 years ago)

      Your not being stupid – the button is slightly hidden…at the bottom of the post there is a button that says share, if you hover over it it comes up with a pinterest button (and some others), I have yet to figure out how to get it to not be hidden behind a share button…Also I’ve been meaning to install a hover over pin it button plugin, so thank you for reminding me!

      Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 21, 2015 at 9:58 am (2 years ago)

      Pin it button installed! Now if you hover over a photo it will come up 🙂

      Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 21, 2015 at 10:04 am (2 years ago)

      Also solved the hidden button issue, it was me being stupid…

      Reply
  26. Helen at Casa Costello
    January 21, 2015 at 12:37 pm (2 years ago)

    Oh wow hannah – This looks incredible. Your photography is beautiful too! Congratulation you are the chosen bake on this week’s #Bakeoftheweek roundup – posted later. Thanks so much for joining in x

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 21, 2015 at 9:23 pm (2 years ago)

      Aww thanks Helen! Very happy to be featured! 🙂 x

      Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 21, 2015 at 9:29 pm (2 years ago)

      thank you 🙂

      Reply
  27. Honest Mum
    January 22, 2015 at 11:20 am (2 years ago)

    What a beauty! Thanks for linking up to #tastytuesdays

    Reply
  28. lucyparissi
    January 22, 2015 at 7:49 pm (2 years ago)

    Beautiful photos and a gorgeous sweet bread. Your recipes and photography are really blowing me away. Fabulous #CookBlogShare

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 23, 2015 at 7:18 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 having some actual backdrops to take photos on has been very helpful!

      Reply
  29. Bakingqueen74
    January 22, 2015 at 8:58 pm (2 years ago)

    It looks so delicious, and I think your pallet sanding turned out very well too

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      January 23, 2015 at 7:20 pm (2 years ago)

      Thank you!

      Reply
  30. Sarah James
    January 30, 2015 at 8:15 am (2 years ago)

    I love the sound of plum & marzipan, your plait looks beautiful. Your weekend of pallet breaking & painting was well worth it #CookBlogShare

    Reply
    • hannahhossack
      February 1, 2015 at 9:29 am (2 years ago)

      Thank you 🙂 yes it was definitely worth the effort!

      Reply

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