Meals and Courses

Blueberry & Vanilla Plait

prep Time 1½—2½ hours, depending on machine, plus shaping, proving and baking
  • 150 ml (¼ pint) water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 75 g (3 oz) unsalted butter, softened
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 350 g (11½ oz) strong white bread flour
  • 50 g (2 oz) ground almonds
  • 50 g (2 oz) caster sugar
  • 1¼ teaspoons fast-action dried yeast
  • 125 g (4 oz) ricotta cheese
  • 250 g (8 oz) blueberries
  • 3 tablespoons caster sugar
  • beaten egg, to glaze
  • vanilla sugar, for sprinkling

Lift the bread pan out of the machine and fit the blade. Put the dough ingredients in the pan, following the order specified in the manual. The vanilla bean paste should be added with the liquids and the almonds with the flour. Fit the pan into the machine and close the lid. Set to the dough programme.

At the end of the programme turn the dough out on to a floured surface and divide it into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece to a strip about 35 x 12 cm (14 x 5 inches). Spread ricotta over each strip to about 2 cm (¾ inch) of the edges. Scatter with 200 g (7 oz) of the blueberries and sprinkle 1 tablespoon sugar over each strip. Bring up the edges over the filling, pinching them together firmly to make 3 thick ropes. Roll them over so the joins are underneath. Plait the strips together, tucking the ends underneath, and carefully lift on to a large, greased baking sheet. Cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for 40 minutes or until nearly doubled in size.

Brush with beaten egg. Scatter with the remaining blueberries and sprinkle with vanilla sugar. Bake in a preheated oven, 200°C (400°F), Gas Mark 6, for 30 minutes or until risen and golden. Cool on a wire rack.

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