Monday, October 29, 2012

Saffron, Currant & Pistachio Braid

Saffron, Currant & Pistachio Braid
by Sarah Kwan

1/4 cup hot water
1/2 teaspoon Marx Foods Sargol Saffron Threads

Soak the saffron in hot water. Let sit until the water is cool. Drain and reserve the liquid.

1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup butter, melted
3 large eggs, room temperature
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1/4 cup warm water (no hotter than 110F)

Mix together the honey, melted butter, eggs and saffron water.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cardamom, lemon zest and salt. Add the yeast and saffron mixture. Stir well. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 20 minutes, gradually adding up to 1/4 cup water (add in increments of a teaspoon), until the dough is smooth and elastic.

Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with cling wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour. 

Punch down the dough and allow to rise for another 30 minutes.

1/4 cup dried currants, soaked in warm water, then drained
1/3 cup pistachios, shelled
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon cold water

Knead in the currants and pistachios, then split the dough into 4 equally sized pieces and roll each into a long strand. Create a four-strand braid by pinching one end of the strands together, then crossing strand 4 over strand 2, strand 1 over strand 3, strand 2 over strand 3 (repeat until you reach the end, then pinch the ends together and tuck underneath).

Place on a parchment-covered baking sheet.

Whisk the egg yolk and cold water together with a fork, then brush over the loaf. Let rise for another hour.

Preheat the oven to 375F.

Brush the loaf with another layer of egg wash, then bake for 30 minutes.

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