“Four thousand volumes of metaphysics will not teach us what the soul is.” – Voltaire
As a self-proclaimed “hoarder of condiments”, I often find myself with an overabundant load of jams, chutneys and marmalade’s that messily spill all over my kitchen shelves. At any given time, it’s safe to assume that there will be more than a few jars of these half-opened goodies in my fridge too. And at the moment, the situation is more than a little out of control.
A recent Adelaide inter-state trip brought this all to a head. Australia has such an incredible variety of gourmet produce and products, ranging in exciting flavours, ingredients and combinations – that it was hard not to pick up more jams, marmalades and chutneys than needed…as is the usual case with me, eyes often bigger than appetite, or in this case, shelve space.
Which leads me to this little loaf, which I whipped up last weekend, in an effort to use the last of the apricot marmalade I had tucked away in the back of the fridge.
Apricot and Lavender Marmalade Pull-Apart Bread is full of warmth, sweet flavour and bright colour. A rich buttermilk bread dough is painted in melted butter, slathered in sticky apricot marmalade and then filled with diced apricot pieces, which slightly plump up during baking with buttery and sticky marmalade juice. Small culinary lavender buds are also scattered then wrapped up throughout the dough, though the addition is subtle enough not to over-power nor over-whelm the palette.
The dough is then sliced, stacked and baked…which scents the home with the most comforting and sweet aroma. When the bread emerges, it is then drowned in a sticky apricot and lavender glaze which soaks deeply into every nook and cranny, deliciously moistening each pillowy soft fold.
Like any sweet bread, this loaf is tastiest on the day it is made, but you can keep it around wrapped up tightly for a day or two (if it even lasts that long). I can also say with good authority that it’s great toasted for breakfast too. It’s basically your usual morning toast and marmalade all in one.
Apricot and Lavender Marmalade Pull-Apart Bread holds warmth, brightness and comfort within each layer. This recipe is a special one, that should not be missed nor fail to be shared. You will find yourself saying just one more slice after devouring your first. It’s that good.
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- .25 oz. / 7 g sachet active dry yeast
- ½ tsp. salt
- ⅓ cup buttermilk
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
- ½ cup apricot marmalade
- 1 tsp. culinary lavender buds
- 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
- ⅓ cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
- 1 tbsp. apricot marmalade
- ½ tsp. culinary lavender buds
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. water
- For the dough, in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment combine 2 cups of the flour, sugar, yeast and salt.
- In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, combine the buttermilk and butter and heat until the butter has just melted. Remove the pan from the heat and add ¼ cup of water and the vanilla. Let the mixture cool to lukewarm temperature or 115-125 F / 45-50 C.
- Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and combine on medium-low speed for 1-2 minutes until just combined. Add the eggs then increase the speed to medium and combine for 5-6 minutes to bring it together. Stop the mixer, scrape down the entire bowl then add the remaining 1 cup of flour. Mix for 3-4 more minutes, or until a smooth, elastic and sticky dough has formed.
- Transfer the dough to a large well-greased bowl, cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour. If you’d like to bake off the bread the next morning, refrigerate the risen dough overnight. The next morning, let the dough rest on the counter for 30 minutes before continuing.
- Meanwhile, prepare the filling by heating the marmalade and lavender in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer before removing from the heat and letting cool to room temperature before use.
- Pre-heat the oven to 350 F / 170 C. Grease and line a 9x5 inch / 22x12 centimeter loaf pan then set aside.
- After the dough has risen, dump it onto a floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll it into a 12-inch-wide by 20-inch-long / 30-centimeter wide by 50-centimeter long rectangle. Brush the melted butter on the dough followed by the cooled apricot and lavender marmalade then sprinkle with apricot pieces.
- Slice the dough vertically into 6 equal strips. Stack the strips on top of one another and slice the stack crosswise into 6 equal slices. You’ll have 6 stacks of 6 squares. Stack the dough squares into the loaf pan then cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled in size, about 45 minutes, then bake until the top is very golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.
- While the loaf bakes, make the glaze. Heat the marmalade, lavender, lemon juice and water in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat until smooth and pourable in consistency. Once the loaf is baked, pour the glaze immediately over its top then let cool in the tin for 20 to 30 minutes before inverting and serving.