A soft, rich dough, filled with fruit and nuts is rolled, split and twisted to make this pretty crown-shaped bread. It is packed with flavour.
To make the dough, tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt to the bowl on one side and the yeast to the other. Add the soft butter, milk and egg and turn the mixture round with your fingers, using them like a paddle. Keep doing this, mixing until you’ve picked up all of the flour from the sides of the bowl. Use the mixture to clean the inside of the bowl, picking up all the scraps, and keep going until you have a ball of soft dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured worktop and knead for 10–12 minutes: work through the initial ‘wet’ stage until the dough starts to develop a soft, smooth skin. When the dough feels smooth and silky, put it into a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover the bowl with a dry tea towel and leave to rise for about 1 hour until doubled in size.
While the dough is rising, make the filing. Put the soft butter, sugar, drained apricots, flour, raisins, walnuts and zest into a bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside until needed.
Turn the risen dough onto the lightly floured worktop. Without punching it down to deflate, roll it out to a rectangle about 25cm x 33cm. Turn the dough 90 degrees, if necessary, so you have a long edge nearest you. Spread the apricot mixture evenly over the dough. Roll up the dough tightly like a Swiss roll. Roll it slightly to seal, then cut it in half lengthways (you can leave one end joined to help you twist the dough and form the crown).
Twist the two strands of dough together, then twist the 2 ends together to finish the ‘crown’. Carefully transfer the crown to the prepared baking sheet. Put the sheet inside a large plastic bag and leave to prove for 30–45 minutes until the dough springs back quickly when you prod it lightly with a fingertip.
While the dough is rising, heat your oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas 6. When the couronne is ready for baking, uncover the baking sheet and place it in the oven. Bake for 25–35 minutes until risen and golden. Transfer to a wire rack.
Gently heat the apricot jam with a splash of water, then push it through a sieve into a bowl. Quickly brush over the warm loaf to glaze. Mix the icing sugar with enough water to make a thin icing. Drizzle over the loaf and sprinkle with the flaked almonds. Leave to cool.