Friday, June 21, 2024


Cherries, both sweet and sour, are one of my favourite fruits. Gloriously aromatic and full of flavour, they are the perfect pairing for many desserts. And this luxurious little loaf combines the richness of sweet cherries with beautiful tanginess of the red wine, creating a luscious treat that's perfect for breakfast or brunch.
With its subtle hints of vanilla and a perfectly balanced sweetness, this wonderful egg-free and dairy-free loaf is a fantastic way to start the day. Whether enjoyed with a cup of strong coffee or a glass of cold almond milk, each slice is bursting with flavour and gorgeous aromas.
Some of my tips for success: Use the red wine you enjoy drinking. That goes for any recipe that calls for wine, as a matter of fact, because the flavour can be prominent, and you want something you enjoy on its own.
This loaf is not that great for toasting, due to the sticky filling, but it broils perfectly, especially slathered with vegan butter beforehand.
And finally, my heartfelt advice about the filling - cook it until thickened, so there are no juices running, and it will be fine. If cooked thicker, it will be firmer and stay in place, allowing for a tidier slice. And if cooked thinner, it will almost meld into the dough itself, making it moister and stickier. No wrong way to do it!

For the vegan enriched dough
250 grams plain flour
100 grams strong bread flour
120 millilitres warm water
30 grams light brown sugar
25 grams fresh yeast
100 grams apple sauce
20 millilitres sunflower oil
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
10 grams salt
60 grams vegan block butter, cold
For the sweet cherry red wine swirl
300 grams fresh sweet cherries, weighed without stems or pits
75 millilitres unfined red wine, such as Merlot or Pinot Noir
100 grams granulated sugar
¼ vanilla bean

Start by making the vegan enriched dough. Pour the warm water into a large bowl, add in the sugar and crumbled fresh yeast, mix lightly, and let it dissolve and bubble up. When the yeast becomes fragrant, add in the apple sauce, vanilla, and oil, and mix well. Sift in both types of flour and salt, and mix vigorously with a wooden spoon until a very soft dough forms. It should pull away from the sides of the bowl and not stick too much to the spoon, but if it does, add another tablespoon of plain flour and mix it well. Once a shaggy dough forms, add in the vegan block butter, and knead it into the dough. Be patient in with this step, as it will take a bit of time for the dough to absorb the butter. Place the formed dough into a large bowl, cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rise, at room temperature, for about an hour to an hour and a half, or until doubled in size.
Next, make the sweet cherry swirl. Halve the cherries and add them to a heavy-bottomed pot. Slice the vanilla bean in half, scrape out all the seeds into the pot, add in the vanilla pods themselves, and add in the wine and sugar. Mix briefly, and let it come to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, until it thickens up to the consistency of thick jam, about 15-20 minutes. Ty not to stir too much, swirling the pot frequently, so the cherries stay whole as much as possible. Remove from the heat, remove the vanilla pods, and discard them. Let the filling cool down.
Once the dough is ready, turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into three equal parts. Roll each part into a large rectangle, and spread on a third of the fruit filling. Roll each dough piece into a roll, and seal the edges well. Make a three-strand plait out of the dough pieces, tuck the ends underneath, and then place it into a loaf pan that has been lined with baking parchment. Cover with a kitchen towel, and let it rise for a second time, for about 30 minutes. Let the oven preheat to 200˚C.
As soon as the oven is ready, generously mist the loaf with cold water, and bake immediately, at 200˚C, for about 25-30 minutes, or until golden. Once baked to your liking, take it out of the oven, mist it with cold water for a softer crust, and let it cool down enough to be handled; about 10 minutes in the loaf pan, and then for at least 30 minutes on a wire rack. Yields 8 rich servings.