Christmas Fruit Bread
Updated: Dec 20, 2018
Treat your family to something special this Christmas morning!
Our little version of Christmas indulgence. Sweet bread packed with candied fruit, raisins, pistachios, hazelnuts, chocolate, and cinnamon sugar. Caramelised nuts sprinkled on top of the bread are adding shine and extra crunch to this delicious treat.
The dough is bread-like: it's egg-light, made with strong white flour and reduced amount of milk. We are sticking with butter-heavy option and slightly higher amount of sugar - thanks to that the texture is fluffy and airy .
Preparation is fairly easy: two rolled logs are wrapped one around the other to form the wreath shape. First log is filled with nuts, cinnamon sugar and raisins. The second log is filled with raisins, candied fruit, cinnamon sugar and chocolate. All is topped up with delicious caramelised nuts.
Yield: 1 Christmas Fruit Bread
Time: 20 minutes prep + 1 hour rest + 20 minutes prep + 15 minutes rest + 35 minutes baking
Tin: baking tray
- 200ml full-fat milk
- 1 large egg
- 100g unsalted butter
- 2 and 1/2 cups strong white flour + 2 tablespoons for dusting/kneading
- 1 sachet (7g) active dry yeast or 25g active dry bulk yeast
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/3 teaspoon salt
*cup @ Bruni Bakery = always 250m tea cup
- 180g unsalted pistachios
- 100g blanched hazelnuts
- 200g raisins or cranberries
- 150g good quality candied fruit
- 100g chocolate chips or coarsely chopped milk/dark/white chocolate
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 cup granulated white sugar
- 100g unsalted butter, softened and spreadable
- 2/3 cup white granulated sugar
- 150g nuts: blanched almonds, hazelnuts and pecan nuts with skins
- 1 egg mixed with 2 tablespoons of full-fat milk
1. Proof the Yeast: Mix sugar with milk and warm up to 38C, stir until sugar dissolves. Add dry yeast to the mixture or if you work with active dry yeast mix it with 25ml warm milk until smooth consistency is achieved and then add to the mixture. Sprinkle with a little bit of flour on top. Cover with cling film or dry kitchen towel and leave in warm place for 15 minutes. You should see the yeast foaming and bubbling up slightly. If this does not happen within 15 minutes you should repeat the step.
2. Prepare the Dough: Melt butter and set aside to cool. Add egg to warm (not hot) melted butter (you want this mixture to be lukewarm @35C). Sift flour with cardamom and salt into large bowl. The bowl should be big enough to let the dough double in volume. Add lukewarm butter/egg mixture and yeast mixture. Mix ingredients until combined then knead the dough until it’s elastic, soft and pulls away from your hand (5-8 minutes). If the dough after 5 minutes of kneading is too loose add 1 tablespoon of flour and knead for another few minutes. Once done sprinkle 1/2 tablespoon of flour on top of the dough and cover with cling film or dry kitchen towel, place the bowl in a warm place and let it rest for 60 minutes or until dough doubles in size. After that time punch the dough and knead again for 1 minute (to remove yeasty bubbles).
3. Prepare the Filling: Transfer pistachios and hazelnuts to food processor and with few pulses grind into powder. Few pulses will be enough as you don’t want it to become an oily mass. Transfer cranberries/raisins into a bowl and pour hot water - let it rest for 30 minutes in the water to soften skins, then remove and give the fruit a proper squeeze to remove excess water. Set aside. In a separate bowl mix cinnamon with sugar. Make sure the butter will be soft and spreadable. Coarsely chop chocolate. Finely chop candied fruit.
4. Form the Wreath: split the dough into two smaller discs. Roll out each disc into 1cm thick rectangle. Brush each rectangle with softened butter. Sprinkle each rectangle with sugar/cinnamon. Spread nuts and half of raisins on the first rectangle (don’t worry if the nuts won’t spread evenly). On the second rectangle spread the rest of raisins, candied fruit and coarsely chopped chocolate. Roll both rectangles into two tight logs. Sprinkle each log with 1/2 tablespoon flour. Plate/wrap 1st log around the 2nd log and form circle shape. Line baking tray with parchment paper and place the wreath on the baking tray. Cover with dry kitchen towel and let it rest for 15-20 minutes. In a meantime preheat the oven to 180C. Once ready brush the wreath with egg wash, you can opt to sprinkle 1 log with cinnamon/sugar mixture.
5. Bake at 180C for 35-40 minutes. After 35 minutes check with chopstick if fully baked through. Once baked take out from the oven and let it rest on the baking tray for 10 minutes before transferring to the cooling rack.
6. Decorate with caramelised nuts: place sugar in a pot and cook on medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until sugar caramelises (you are going for golden colour). Once the sugar reaches the colour add nuts. Take two spoons and transfer nuts onto the wreath. Be careful as caramel is hot and sets quickly so you need to act swiftly. If you have any caramel left warm it up on low heat and sprinkle all over the wreath.
1. Before baking this bread you may opt to read the post on Working with Yeast.
2. Cardamom: it’s optional here but adds great flavour to the bread. You can buy cardamom pods, take out the seeds and grind with 1/4 cup of flour to achieve powdery texture then sift with the rest of flour.
3. Make sure to widen the wreath’s middle/circle after second rest - just before baking. The bread will puff up while baking so you don’t want the middle to ‘disappear’ and join up with the rest of the dough.