Apricot & Hazelnut Bread with Brie

SITTING down to do an assignment is never as easy as it sounds. I sit opposite the kitchen and am always surrounded by food magazines. Often I give myself permission to cook something (and fuel up of course) or read the newest magazine before studying, but one thing just leads to another. Today, I sat down with textbooks by my side but the first page I opened to was filled with recipe ideas I had scribbled down during lectures this week. I have been wanting to make a fruit and nut bread for a while and today seemed the perfect time. 

The dough itself is super easy to make and the end product holds a wonderful balance of flavours. The loaf forms a beautiful crust which is enhanced by the crunchy little flecks of sugar. The dense yet crumbly inner is studded with jewels of toasty hazelnut and sweet, golden apricot. A sliver of creamy brie on a warm slice of this bread is unimaginably good. The light earthiness of the brie is a compliment to the scrumptious flavours contained in this loaf. 

What you'll need:
1 cup hazelnuts
250g apricots, chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
3 cups self-raising flour
100g butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 egg
Extra milk
Extra flour
Raw sugar
Brie, to serve

What to do:
Add half the hazelnuts and all of the apricots to a large bowl. Chop the other half of the nuts roughly before throwing them in too. Add the flour and make a well in the centre. Pour in the melted butter and use a knife to mix in a slicing motion. Add the egg and milk and mix together again using the knife.

Tip the dough out onto a clean, floured work surface and flour your hands. Knead until the mixture is not as moist and it becomes nice and smooth. Shape into a ball and press down to flatten out a little. Score the top a couple of times and paint with the extra milk. Sprinkle over the raw sugar and transfer the dough to a lined baking tray.

Bake for 35 minutes and remove from the oven. Cover with aluminium foil and bake for a further 10 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. If in doubt, a skewer inserted should come out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving warm with brie. Enjoy!