‘At no other time (than autumn) does the earth let itself be inhaled in one smell, the ripe earth; in a smell that is in no way inferior to the smell of the sea, bitter where it borders on taste, and more honeysweet where you feel it touching the first sounds. Containing depth within itself, darkness, something of the grave almost.’ – Rainer Maria Rilke
I’ve got peaches and apples in my kitchen. Summer is gently fading, and autumn is slipping in with an occasional cool breeze, a golden leaf here and there. I don’t know how August is already over, but here is September with its crisp ciders and juicy pears. I’m ready for bread-making again, and am starting the cooler months off with this brioche cake.The juicy peaches and the apple-cinnamon flavor are a good combination; a perfect intermingling of the seasons.
Apple-Peach Brioche Cake
Inspired by this Braided Cinnamon, Apple, and Pecan Bread from Floating Kitchen.
1 small apple, peeled and grated (I used a Gala apple)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup peeled and diced peaches
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2-4 tablespoons water
Remove 1 pound of dough from your dough bucket, and place it on a generously floured surface. Knead the dough a few times, and shape into a ball. Cover with a tea towel and let rest on the counter for 15-20 minutes.
While the dough is resting, peel the apple, and then grate it directly over a clean dish towel. Wring out the dish towel over a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, catching all the apple juice. Set the grated apple aside to use later. Pour the apple juice into a small saucepan, and add the granulated sugar and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat, and let simmer until the liquid is reduced by half and starting to turn sticky. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly.
Add the brown sugar and cinnamon to the slightly cooled apple juice, and stir to combine. Add the grated apple pieces and stir again to combine. Set aside.
Once the dough is ready, roll it to a 1/4-inch thick rectangle, using flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the counter. Brush the melted butter over the dough. Use an off-set spatula to spread the apple-sugar mixture evenly over the butter, leaving a 1/2 border around the edges. Sprinkle with the chopped peaches. Starting with the long end of the dough, carefully roll the dough into a log. Gently transfer the log to a prepared sheet pan (you may need to use a bench scraper or spatula to help move it). Mine fit on the sheet pan diagonally. Chill the log in the refrigerator for 20 minutes, or until firm.
Using a scissors or sharp knife, gently cut the roll into half lengthwise so the layers of dough and filling are visible, but leave one end still attached by about 3/4-inch.
With the cut sides facing up, gently press together one end of each half, and then lift the right half over the left half, and continue until you have braided the entire roll. Press the ends together.
Starting at the cut end, gently spiral the braid into a circle, no bigger than 9-inches across, making sure not to leave any holes or gaps. If any peaches fall out, tuck them back inside the braid. It’s okay if a little filling leaks around the edges, too.
Place the ring of the spring form pan around the bread. Cover with plastic wrap or a dishtowel and let the dough rise in a warm place for 1-1/2 hours, until puffed and touching (or almost touching) the sides of the pan.
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position, and heat the oven to 350F.
Remove the plastic wrap, but leave the spring form pan around the dough. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Gently remove the spingform ring from the bread (if it’s sticking, use a thin knife or off-set spatula to help release it).
For the icing
Put the powdered sugar into a medium bowl. Add 2 tablespoons water, and mix until combined. If the icing is too thick, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. Drizzle over warm the warm bread.
Best eaten warm. Enjoy!
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