I can’t stop buying cookery books, I just can’t. Oh and magazines for that matter. Obviously I have a good excuse of using them as references for styling and rob for photography etc but really Pinterest and the rest of the internet could probably give me all of the images I need…but it’s just not the same.
There is something so exciting to me about getting a new edition of Donna Hay magazine or picking up yet another baking book that features Scandinavian baking. I do find myself flicking back on old editions of magazines, because most of the time in the excitement of getting it I don’t really let any of it sink in, so it sits on the shelf for a while and then on a day where I have a lot of free time I go through each page with a fine tooth comb.
This Simnel Ring is from the Jamie magazine March/April 2014, This edition really stuck in my head, seeing the images flickering past as I think of Easter and Spring, which is what an inspirational and experimental cookery magazine should do…go that little bit further in not just the recipes but with it’s imagery. I talk so much about the aesthetic of the magazines and books because that’s what I do, my job as a stylist is to try and make that image stick in someones head when they think of that type of food or season. I probably haven’t done it yet, but I’m only new at this career path so hopefully in time I will be able to do it that little bit better as I go along.
I thought this was a lovely idea for Easter, it has some really nice flavours but there is something I love about this type of spicy breaded sweet dessert. I added some pearl sugar on top but if you don’t have it it’s really not important, just lifts the colour a bit. Mine went a bit wonky so it’s more oval that ring shape, but that’s just what happens in baking.
250ml Milk, warmed
Pinch of Saffron
2 x 7g sachets of Yeast
200g Caster Sugar
2 large Egg Yolks
150g butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
500g Strong Flour/Bread Flour
2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
3 tbsp Apricot Jam
A squeeze of Lemon juice
Combine the warm Milk and Saffron in a bowl and leave to soak up for around 5mins then stir in the yeast with 1 tbsp of the Sugar, let this sit for a few minutes and bubble. Finally whisk in the Egg Yolks and 60g of the melted Butter. Place the Flour and a pinch of Salt into a mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and pour in your Yeasty Milk mixture and mix with your hands until everything comes together.
On a lightly floured surface work your dough for about 5 minutes until it becomes soft and elastic. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling film or a damp cloth and leave to rise in a warm dry place for around an hour or place in the fridge over night. The aim is to have it double in size.
Preheat your oven to 200°C (390°F) or Gas mark 6. In a bowl, mix the Sugar, Cinnmaon and Mixed Spice. (reserve a couple of tablespoons for later) Blend 75g of the Butter with the Marzipan until you have a paste, add in the Sugar and Spice mixture and set aside. Dust your work surface with a little bit of Flour, tip out your dough and knead to knock the air out.
Roll out your dough into a rectangle, about 22cm x 30cm and 1cm thick. Spread your Marzipan Spiced Butter over the top (not to the complete edge).
Now for shaping your Simnel ring, start from the long side and roll the dough into a log shape. Using a sharp knife, cut down the length of the log so that it splays open, showing the many layers within. Place halves side by side, with cut surfaces facing up. Moisten one end of each portion with wet fingers. Push the ends together to join the two pieces of dough and then just twist them around each other and form into a ring.
Grease a baking sheet and place the bun ring on top. Brush with the rest of the butter and sprinkle over the remaining sugar and spices. Reduce the oven to 180°C/ (350°F) Gas mark 4 and bake for 35 minutes, until all lovely and golden.
Melt the apricot jam with the lemon juice and brush this over the warm bun ring, leave to cool, then serve.