I don’t often bake with yeast, I don’t really know why. Maybe it is because I am sometimes a bit impatient and I don’t like having to wait for the dough to rise before I can pop it in the oven. Last Saturday, I found myself with a bit of fresh yeast from my bread making and enough time on my hands, so I decided to make this rather delicious Nut & Chocolate Plait. Well, it started out as a nut plait, but I decided to chuck some chocolate and cinnamon in for good measure and, in my opinion, it improved the recipe considerably.
To make the yeast dough, you’ll need:
- 500g plain flour
- 1 square fresh yeast (or dried yeast, please check the package for how much you’ll need for 500g pf flour)
- 125ml milk
- 80g white sugar
- 1 egg
- 80g unsalted butter
For the filling:
- 100g ground almonds
- 50g roasted hazelnut pieces
- 100g brown sugar
- 125ml milk
- 1 egg white (beaten stiff)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 100g dark chocolate drops
To make the dough, heat the milk and butter in a saucepan, but only until they are lukewarm. Sift the flour into a bowl, add the yeast, sugar and milk/butter and mix it all together. Knead it for several minutes until you have a smooth, springy dough. I actually put it in my food processor to save me all the hard work, but do make sure you have kneading equipment. Put the dough back in the bowl, cover with a damp cloth and leave it somewhere warm for about an hour. It should have increased in volume considerably.
Preheat the oven to 200C (I used a fan oven).
Divide the dough into three equal parts and roll them out into three different pieces of about 10cm x 30cm
Mix all the ingredients for the filling and spread equally on the dough. Roll the dough up into sausage shapes and lay the three strands on a baking tray. Make a plait, or something resembling a plait – it’s not that easy! – but make sure the three parts are entwined. Don’t worry too much if the seams split and a bit of the filling comes out, it won’t make any difference to the taste and I thinks it even looks better that way when it is finished baking – more rustic! Brush with egg yolk and bake for 25-30 minutes. Leave to cool.
This cake keeps for a few days if you keep it in an airtight tin or plastic container.