makes three braids
5 1/2 to 6 1/2 c. unsifted flour
3/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. salt
3 pkg. active dry yeast
1/2 c. butter
1 c. very warm water
3 eggs, at room temperature
Prepare apricot filling and crumb topping and set aside.
APRICOT FILLING: Combine 2 1/4 cups (11 oz. package) dried apricots and 1 1/2 cups water in saucepan. Bring to boil; cook until liquid is absorbed and apricots are tender, about 20 minutes. Mash. Stir in 1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar.
CRUMB TOPPING: Combine 1/2 cup brown sugar, 3 tablespoons unsifted flour, 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix in 3 tablespoons butter until crumbly.
In large bowl, mix 1 1/4 cups flour, sugar, salt and undissolved yeast. Add butter, gradually add tap water to dry ingredients; beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer. Add eggs and 1/4 cup flour. Beat at high speed 2 minutes. Stir in additional flour to make soft dough; turn out on floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes.
Divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll one piece into 7x12 inch rectangle. Cut 1-inch wide strips along both sides. Fill center strip with 1/3 of filling, braid outside 2 strips back over center. Sprinkle with topping. You can freeze for later, or let rise (1 1/2 hours) and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes.