For a perfect after-dinner indulgence, this recipe takes on the celestial form of a star in golden bread, which is sure to impress at a dinner party or family gathering
225g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
7g fast action dried yeast
450g strong flour, plus extra for dusting
50g caster sugar
2 eggs, separated
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
100g dark soft brown sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
icing sugar, for dusting
large, flat oven tray
In a microwaveable jug, combine the milk and 125g of the butter, and microwave for 30 secs until body temperature. Add the yeast and a pinch of sea salt; stir, and leave to stand for 5 mins.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour and caster sugar, then make a well in the middle of the mixture with a wooden spoon. Pour in the yeast mixture, the egg yolks and vanilla bean paste, then mix in a figure of eight motion until combined. Knead with one hand in the bowl, dusting the dough with flour if it becomes too sticky to handle, for 8-10 mins. Transfer the dough to a clean bowl and cover the bowl with an airtight wrap. Leave to rise for 2 hrs until more than double its size.
In a bowl, combine the remaining butter, dark soft brown sugar and cinnamon thoroughly with a wooden spoon.
Punch the air out of the dough using the fist, then, on a clean work surface dusted with flour, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and shape them into balls. One ball at a time, roll the dough into a 30cm diameter circle. Grease the oven tray, then place one circle on the tray. Spread a third of the cinnamon mixture on top, then top with another circle of dough. Spread the circle with half of the remaining cinnamon mixture then place another circle of dough on top. Layer the remaining cinnamon mixture on top and cover it with the final circle.
Using kitchen scissors, make four incisions into the circular bread: one at the top of the circle, one at the bottom, and one on each side; cutting into the circle towards the centre and stopping 5cm shy of the centre point. Make three incisions within each quarter so there are 12 strips coming from the centre, going around the circle like a clock.
Taking two of the strips at a time, twist them towards each other five times, then join the two pieces at the end to a point. Continue with all the strips, then cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 30 mins.
Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas mark 4. In a small bowl, whisk the egg whites with a fork, then brush it over the entire pastry. Bake for 15-20 mins until golden. Dust with icing sugar, and serve.
More recipes for constellation dishes are in the December 2022 issue of Land_Scape_ magazine...
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