… To eat truck loads of reallyyyyy unhealthy treats because it’s Christmas, right? To be honest I’d use most excuses to eat truck loads of unhealthy stuff (it’s my birthday! It’s your birthday! I could die tomorrow!) but Christmas is the best one, plus I can use it for like, two months and get away with it.
I don’t usually make bread because I have zero patience and I just want the whole process done immediately but this morning was one of those moments where I wanted to take my time and relish it. So, bread it was. I loooovee candied fruit so I took inspiration from Completely Delicious and got out my supply reserved for this time of year and set to work. It’s true what they say about getting out what you put in, because my bakes always out best when I’m in the right mood for it and, for once, I’ve managed to make something that doesn’t look like I’ve thrown it at the wall.
This is a really nice, fragrant, sweet bread that you can enjoy any time of day. Serve it toasted for breakfast and you could even turn it into an all-dressed-up bread pudding with some brandy cream.
RECIPE FROM COMPLETELY DELICIOUS
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 cup milk
- 1 envelope of active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 egg
- 3 1/2 cup plain flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 cup candied peel
- 1/2 cup glacé cherries
- 1/4 cup mixed dried fruit and nuts, I used slivered almonds, dried apple, sultanas and cranberries
FOR THE GLAZE
- 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon brandy, optional
- 1/2 teaspoon orange blossom extract
1) In a heavy bottomed saucepan over a low heat, melt together the butter and milk. Remove from the heat and then add the yeast, sugar and egg.
2) In a large bowl, tip in the butter mixture and then add 1 1/2 cups of the flour, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and fruit. Add the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, and make sure you mix thoroughly after each addition.
3) Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size.
4) Once the house is up, tip the dough out onto a floured surface. Roll out a rectangle and from the long side, roll tightly into a long rope shape.
5) Transfer onto a parchment lined baking tray and shape into a ring. Pinch the ends together. With a sharp knife score 2 thirds down into the dough, every 2 inches apart, and then twist so that the cut side is facing up.
6) Cover with cling film and leave in a warm place for a further 40 minutes.
7) Preheat the oven to 180C
8) When the ring has doubled in size, bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
9) To make the glaze, stir together the sifted icing sugar, milk, orange extract and brandy (if using). Drizzle over the surface of the loaf and then top with chopped nuts and more cherries.