Date & Walnut Couronne / Crown


Date & Walnut Couronne / Crown

A delectable French enriched bread, filled with a spiced butter, fruit and walnuts then shaped into a crown / couronne. Lavishly finished with an apricot glaze and icing.


This is a recipe for those with a seriously sweet tooth.

Loaded with brown sugar , dates, raisins and as if that weren’t enough, the Couronne is finished with yet more sugar. In the form of an apricot glaze and a liberal spread of a glacé icing.

You could easily leave off the glaze(s) for more of an everyday afternoon tea bread, but it won’t look half as pretty.

I first made this apricot version back in Ramadan when I took a month hiatus from the blog. Since I’ve recently returned from another month-long hiatus I made the Couronne again.


This time I swapped out the apricots for dates, soaked them in coffee instead of orange juice and decorated the Couronne with walnuts instead of flaked almonds, to reflect the walnuts on the inside. I also swapped out the orange zest in the butter for some cinnamon and seeds from a vanilla pod.



The coffee does counter some of the sweetness in the dates, but if you’re making this specifically for children, you can always use orange juice-fresh or carton / orange blossom water / rose water and reduce the amount of sugar instead. I was contemplating using up the leftover coffee to make the glacé icing for more of a coffee flavour because it’s not distinct in the crown itself, but then I decided against it as I didn’t want an all brown, albeit glossy loaf.

Although this is an enriched bread which means the dough is soft, it can be completely made by hand without the aid of a stand mixer.

Shaping the Couronne


After the enriched dough has risen until doubled in size, knock back (knead the air out of it) then roll into a rectangle roughly 33 x 25 cm.


Using a palette knife or back of a tablespoon, spread the spiced fruit and nut butter evenly over the rectangle leaving a border uncovered.


Roll up the dough tightly just as you would when making cinnamon rolls, swiss roll etc.


Pinch the dough seam together, turn the dough over so the seam is underneath and then roll to seal.


Cut off the ends.


Cut it in half lengthways and turn cut sides up to expose the filling. You can leave one end joined to help you twist the dough and form the circular crown.

Grab the two ‘legs’, one hand at each end and twist (not braid) the two dough lengths together to make a rope, then join the ends of the rope to form a circular ‘crown’. You have to work fairly quickly hence why there is no photo of the rope – sorry.  The best way I can describe on how to twist the dough; make your left hand turn up and your right turn down, all whilst trying your best not to lift the dough from your workbench.

Transfer to the baking tray, cover and prove for another hour before baking. Allow to fully cool on a wire rack before glazing with apricot jam, drizzle / spread with icing and cover with chopped walnuts, feel free to toast your walnuts first.

after proving

The beauty of this recipe is, no two Couronne look alike. Not unless you’re some master boulanger /pâtissier knocking out dozens of these a day. Don’t worry too much about the filling whilst the crown is baking, it’s meant to be exposed and will caramelise.

This Date & Walnut Couronne is rich, soft, crunchy, sticky and above all SWEET. Goes well with a mug of strong coffee.


Date & Walnut Couronne / Crown

Rating: 4

Prep Time: 3 hours

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf

Serving Size: 8

A delectable French enriched bread, filled with a spiced butter, fruit and walnuts then shaped into a crown / couronne. Lavishly finished with an apricot glaze and icing.


  • 250g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 5g salt
  • 8g instant yeast
  • 50g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 135ml warm full-fat milk
  • 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
  • For the filling
  • 120g pitted dates,chopped (I used medjoul)
  • 150ml strong coffee (espresso or 1 tbsp instant dissolved in water)
  • 90g unsalted butter, softened
  • 70g brown sugar (light, dark or muscovado)
  • 35g plain flour
  • 60g raisins
  • 65g chopped walnuts
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • seeds of 1 vanilla pod
  • To finish
  • 50g apricot jam
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 50g walnuts, chopped


  1. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the butter, milk and egg and mix to combine, using your hands. Continue to mix until you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl. Use the dough to clean the inside of the bowl and keep going until you have a soft dough.
  2. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and begin to knead. Keep kneading for 10-12 minutes. Work through the initial wet stage until the dough starts to form a soft, smooth skin.
  3. When the dough feels smooth and silky, put it into a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and leave to rise for one hour, or until doubled in size.(mine took 2 hours in winter)
  4. While the dough is rising, soak the dates in coffee then make the filling. Beat the butter and brown sugar together until smooth. Drain the dates and add to the butter mixture along with the flour, raisins, walnuts, cinnamon and vanilla. Mix to combine.
  5. Line a baking tray with baking parchment or silicone paper.
  6. Turn the risen dough onto a lightly floured surface. roll out the dough into a rectangle, approximately 33x25cm/13x10in. Turn the dough 90 degrees if necessary, so you have a long edge facing you. Spread the date mixture evenly over the dough. Roll up the dough tightly (like a cinnamon roll). pinch the seam to seal, turn over so the seal is underneath and then roll it slightly to further seal and lengthen the roll. Cut off the uneven ends to make them straight, then cut in half lengthways (you can leave one end joined to help you twist the dough and form the circular crown).
  7. Twist (not braid) the two dough lengths together to make a rope, then join the ends of the rope to form a circular ‘crown’. Transfer to the baking tray.
  8. Cover tray loosely with plastic wrap and leave to prove for upto an hour, until the dough springs back quickly if you prod it lightly with your finger. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  9. Bake the couronne on the middle shelf for 25 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown. Set aside to cool on a wire rack.
  10. Gently heat the apricot jam with a splash of water, then sieve it and brush it over the loaf to glaze. Mix the icing sugar with 1-2tbsp water to make a glacé icing, drizzle over the loaf and sprinkle with the chopped walnuts
Date & Walnut Couronne / Crown
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Date & Walnut Couronne / Crown

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