Stollen babka wreath
A great Christmas party or brunch centrepiece. This gorgeous wreath will keep for a few days if stored in a cake tin or well wrapped.
SERVES 10 PREP 45 mins plus proving COOK 45 mins MORE EFFORT 2 x 7g sachets fast-action dried yeast
600g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
11/2 tsp mixed spice
50g golden caster sugar 400ml warm milk
50g salted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing and to serve
1 large egg, beaten
85g dried cranberries
85g mixed dried fruit
1/2 orange, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced 300g golden marzipan, chilled 25g pistachios or almonds, or a mixture roughly chopped 100g icing sugar
1 Mix the yeast, flour, mixed spice, sugar and 1 tsp salt in a big bowl. Whisk together the milk, melted butter and egg, then tip into the dry ingredients and mix until it forms a sticky dough. Tip onto a work surface and knead for about 8 mins, until the dough feels soft and stretchy. Clean the bowl, grease it and return the dough to it, cover with greased cling film and set aside for about 1-2 hrs, or until doubled in size, or chill for up to 24 hrs. In a small pan, simmer the cranberries, mixed dried fruit, zests and orange juice until the fruit looks plump. Leave to cool.
2 When you’re ready to shape the bread, heat oven to 180C/160C fan/ gas 4. Tip the dough onto a flourdusted surface. Roll out to a 50 x 30cm rectangle. Grate the marzipan over the surface of the dough (it’s easier if the marzipan is cold). Scatter the soaked fruit and half the nuts evenly over, then press lightly with your hands so they stick into the dough a bit.
3 With a long side facing you, roll up as tightly as you’re able to, like a Swiss roll (see step 1). Pinch the dough together to seal the open edge, then use a large knife to cut the sausage of dough in half along its length, leaving one end intact by about 5cm (see step 2). You should now have two long strips of dough to work with. Move onto a large baking sheet oiled and lined with parchment. Twist the two pieces together, turning the cut edge outwards to expose the marzipan and fruit filling (see step 3). Once twisted, connect the two ends to make a wreath shape about 26cm in diameter with a 12cm hole in the middle, tucking one end under the other to hide the uncut piece of dough (see step 4). Cover loosely with oiled cling film and leave the bread to prove for 30-40 mins until risen by roughly a third.
4 Uncover the bread and bake for 40-45 mins until the dough is golden all over. You may want to rotate the tray halfway through cooking to get even results. Leave to cool for 20 mins on the tray.
5 Meanwhile, mix the icing sugar with enough lemon juice to make a thick but pourable icing. Drizzle over the wreath, then scatter with the rest of the nuts. Will keep in a tin or well wrapped for three days.
PER SERVING 537 kcals • fat 11g • saturates 4g • carbs 94g • sugars 48g • fibre 4g • protein 13g • salt 0.7g