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I've been making this one since 1983, from Southern Living -- Holiday Wreath

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Joined: Mar 16, 2006

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Posted to Thread #12943 at 11:34 pm on Dec 8, 2008

Holiday Wreath

Pinch dried whole saffron
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
2 packages dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees)
6 1/2 to 7 cups all purpose flour, divided
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup candied citron, finelly chopped
1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest

glaze (recipe follows)

Candied citron
Candied red cherries
Grated lemon zest
whole blanched almonds, toasted

Combine saffron and buttermilk. Let mixture stand for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large mixer bowl; set aside.

Combine 2 1/2 cups flour, sugar, baking powder and salt; stir well. Add buttermilk mixture, butter, eggs, and flour mixture to yeast; beat at low speed of electric mixture 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly with a spatula.

Combine 1/2 cup additional flour and 1/2 cup candied citron, stirring well; stir citron mixture, chopped almonds, and one tablespoon lemon zest into dough. Gradually add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky.

Turn dough out onto a heavily floured surface. Knead about 5 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Cover dough, and let it rest 10 minutes.

Divide dough in half; shape each portion into a ball. Divide one ball of dough into three equal portions, and shape each into a 24 inch rope. Do the same with the other ball. Keep covered until ready to work.

Transfer ropes to a large greased baking sheet. Firmly pinch ends of the three ropes together at one end to seal. Braid ropes together; firmly pinch finished end together to seal. Shape braid into a circle with a 5-inch diameter hole. Join ends of the braid; firmly pinch ends to seal. Invert a well greased 3 1/2 inch custard cup in the center of the wreath. Repeat procedure with the remaining dough on another greased baking sheet.

Cover and let the loaves rise in a warm place (85 degrees), free from drafts, until dough is doubled in bulk.

Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown and braids sound hollow when tapped with finger. Carefully transfer to wire rack to cool.

Glaze

4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup water

Combine sugar and water, mix until smooth. Yields about 2 cups.

Glaze loaves and decorate with the remaining citron, cherries, lemon zest and toasted whole almonds.

It wouldn't be Christmas in our house without these.


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