300g strong white flour
1 ½ tsps. Instant dried yeast
½ tsp salt
2 tbsps caster sugar
¼ tsp almond extract
30g soft unsalted butter
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
For the filling:
60g soft unsalted butter
40g soft light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g blanched hazelnuts
100g white chocolate, roughly chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten, to glaze
Combine the flour and yeast in a large bowl before stirring in the salt and sugar. Warm the milk and almond extract gently over a low heat until tepid then add this to the flour mixture along with the butter and lemon zest. Mix well to combine then knead for 5 minutes. Leave the dough to double in size at room temperature in a large covered bowl.
Spread the hazelnuts on a lined baking tray and roast until golden at 180C/160FAN. Allow to cool before chopping roughly.
Beat together the butter, sugar and vanilla extract until smooth and spreadable.
When the dough is risen, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to a rectangle approximately 45 x 20 cm. It will keep shrinking back as you roll it, but keep going and eventually the dough will reach the right size and stay there.
Spread the butter and sugar mixture evenly over the dough then scatter over the hazelnuts and chopped white chocolate. Roll up tightly from the long edge, tacking the other long edge to the work surface with a damp finger so that when the log is rolled onto it, it will stick to itself.
Line a large baking tray with parchment and lift the log onto it. Using a sharp knife, cut right through the dough along the length of the log, almost completely halving it but stopping just before you reach one end, to leave the two halves barely attached. Now, keeping the cut sides of the dough strands facing upwards at all times, cross the strands over each other, starting at the end where they are still joined. Now cross them over each other again – the strand that went underneath the first time, will this time go over the top. Keep crossing them until the two strands are twisted along their entire length. Curve this plait around into a circle shape, pressing the dough strands back into shape if they spring out.
Cut through the final piece of dough where the two strands were still joined together and attach to the other end of the loop, pressing gently to secure the dough into one continuous circle. If there are any chunks of hazelnut or white chocolate protruding, gently press them back into the dough so they don’t burn during the bake.
Leave the couronne to prove at room temperature for 45-60 minutes. Preheat the oven to 180C/160FAN, brush the risen couronne with egg wash and bake for around 30 minutes until well risen and the dough is richly golden brown.
Leave to cool on a wire rack, covered loosely with a clean tea towel, before slicing. If not eating the whole thing on the same day, slice and freeze the individually wrapped slices.