Maple pecan bread wreath – this impressive vegan maple pecan couronne is a real showstopper which would be perfect for an indulgent breakfast or brunch.
To make the dough, mix together the flour, yeast and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the milk and maple syrup and stir until it forms a rough dough. Knead on a medium-high speed for a minute or two until the dough is smooth.
Add the softened butter and continue to knead on a high speed for 5-10 minutes until the butter has been well incorporated and the dough is very smooth and elastic. It should be a fairly soft and sticky dough so resist the urge to add more flour unless it seems wet.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and set aside to rise in a warm place until at least doubled in size, for about 1-2 hours.
Alternatively, at this point you can place the bowl of dough in the fridge to rise overnight and continue with the recipe in the morning.
While the dough is rising make the filling by simply whisking together the butter, maple syrup, light brown soft sugar and cinnamon in a bowl; set aside.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and give it a brief 30 second knead to knock out the air bubbles then roll it out on a floured sheet of baking parchment into a rectangle about 40x30cm / 12x16in in size.
Spread the filling mixture evenly all over the rectangle then scatter over the pecans. Roll the dough up from one of the long edges into a tight sausage shape. Use a sharp knife to slice the log in half lengthways, leaving a small section joined together at one end so it resembles a pair of legs.
Twist the two lengths together then form it into a circular shape and join the two ends together . Make sure that the dough is still on the baking parchment as this will make it easier to move it.
Slide the sheet of baking parchment onto a baking tray. Loosely cover the loaf and set aside to rise in a warm spot until puffy, for about 45-60 minutes. If you press it gently with a finger it should spring back slowly.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.
Once the dough has risen, bake it for about 30 minutes until a probe thermometer inserted into the centre reads at least 94°C/201°F . If the top starts to colour too much before the loaf is done, you can loosely cover it with a sheet of tin foil.
When the bread is done, remove it from the oven and brush it with maple syrup to give it a good shine then leave to cool.
Once the bread has cooled make the glaze. Place the sifted icing sugar in a bowl and stir in the maple syrup and melted butter then gradually stir in enough milk to form a thick but pourable consistency.
Drizzle the glaze over the couronne and serve straight away.
For the best results make sure that you follow the recipe closely. As always, I highly recommend using the gram measurements (with a digital scale), rather than the cup conversions. Cup measurements are simply not accurate enough for baking and I cannot guarantee the best results if you use them.
* Plain (all-purpose) flour will work but bread flour gives the best texture.
** Use a foil wrapped block butter such as Naturli vegan block, Stork block, Vitalite block, Tormor or Earth Balance Buttery sticks. The spreadable kind in a tub has too high a water content for baking and will not provide the best results.