I have made a mincemeat version of this bread treat at Christmas time and thought I would adapt it to suit the Coffee, Set, Match Challenge run by Wimbledon sponsors Lavazza.
I soaked the dried fruit in freshly brewed espresso to soften the fruit and let it absorb the lovely coffee to give it a rich flavour. I also used freshly brewed espresso in the icing. It was a delicious coffee hit, with a cuppa of course, that I enjoyed with friends who had come over for morning tea the other day.
225g strong white bread flour
25g caster sugar
1/2 tsp salt
25g softened butter
3/4 tsp fast action dried yeast
1 free range egg, beaten
90ml warm semi-skimmed milk
225g dried fruit (I used a combination of dates and sultanas)
120ml freshly brewed espresso
50g softened butter
25g ground almonds
25g light soft brown sugar or caster sugar
80g icing sugar
1 - 2 Tblsp espresso
Toasted flaked almonds, for topping (optional)
Put the dried fruit into a bowl and pour over the hot espresso. Leave to infuse until the coffee is cold, stir it around a couple of times to make sure all the fruit gets an opportunity to absorb the coffee. Drain the fruit before you use it in the bread plait, otherwise it will be too wet and make the dough soggy.
When you're ready to make the dough combine the flour and butter in a bowl and rub the butter into the flour until it looks like coarse breadcrumbs. Stir through the sugar, salt and yeast. Make a well in the centre and add the softened butter, egg and milk. Mix to make a soft dough then knead for 10 minutes, either by hand or in your mixer.
Cover the dough and leave in a warm place until it doubles in size. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Don't knock back the dough, just roll it out on a lightly floured work surface until it is a 30cm x 23cm (12 inches x 9 inches) rectangle.
Now make the filling. Beat together the sugar, ground almonds and butter and spread all over the dough, leaving 2.5cm (1 inch) gap around the outside. Then, leaving a 2.5cm (1 inch) gap at each end, spread the drained soaked fruit over the filling in a 7.5cm (3 inch) strip.
Using a sharp knife, make angled cuts each side of the filling trip, every 5cm (2 inches). Starting from the top, fold alternate strips over the filling.
Repeat until all the strips have been used. Neaten each end of the plait and then transfer it to the prepared baking tray. Cover the dough and leave to prove until it has doubled in size.
Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas Mark 6 whilst the dough is proving. Once the dough has proved, bake it for 25 minutes in the oven, cover it with some baking paper after 15 minutes to stop the top browning too much before the plait cooks through.
Transfer the plait to a cooling rack to cool completely and then ice. To make the icing, combine the espresso and icing sugar then drizzle over the bread plait. Sprinkle over toasted flaked almonds if you like.
Don't forget the fabulous Lavazza Wimbledon Giveaway!
To be in with a chance to win one the fantastic Lavazza Wimbledon prizes look out for promotional cups on take away Lavazza coffees from cafes, or enter the fabulous giveaway online at http://promotion.wimbledon.lavazza.com/
Prizes include six pairs of tickets to Wimbledon, 90 Lavazza A Modo Mio Favola Plus Wimbledon Limited Edition coffee machines and 500 sets of four exclusive espresso cups created especially for the tournament.