Take Christmas to the next level by baking our heavenly European-inspired sweet breads.
APRICOT & ALMOND WREATH PREP + COOK TIME 1 HOUR 30 MINUTES (+ PROVING & COOLING) MAKES 1 LOAF (SERVES 12)
Make this showstopper edible wreath the centrepiece of a festive breakfast, brunch or afternoon tea. Customise it with a pretty ribbon and display it on a board or serving platter. ¼ cup (60ml) warm water
2 teaspoons (7g) dried yeast
2 cups (300g) plain flour
¼ teaspoon coarse cooking salt
¼ cup (60ml) milk, warmed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg, beaten lightly
2 tablespoons caster sugar 1 tablespoon finely grated orange zest 40g butter, chopped,
at room temperature
1 egg, beaten lightly, extra 1 tablespoon natural flaked almonds 1 tablespoon demerara sugar
1½ cups (225g) dried apricots ¼ cup (55g) caster sugar
1 cup (250ml) water 1 Combine the water, yeast and ½ cup of the flour in a medium bowl. Stand in a warm place for 10 minutes or until doubled in size.
2 Place remaining flour, salt, milk, vanilla, egg, caster sugar, zest and butter in a large bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.
Add yeast mixture and mix until combined. Knead for 6 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
3 Transfer dough to an oiled large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 1½ hours or until dough has doubled in size.
4 Meanwhile, make apricot filling.
5 Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan. Grease an oven tray.
6 Turn dough out onto a lightly floured sheet of baking paper, then roll dough into a 15cm x 40cm rectangle. Spread apricot filling over dough, leaving a 2.5cm border along one long side. Turn paper so long side of dough, without the border, is in front of you. Roll up dough to form a log, then shape log into a ring. Lift ring on paper onto oven tray. Place an 8cm greased metal dariole mould or ramekin in the centre of the ring. Cover with oiled plastic wrap. Stand in a warm place for 30 minutes or until dough has doubled in size.
7 Using floured scissors, cut seven diagonal slashes, about 10cm apart, into outer edge of dough. Brush the top of the wreath with extra egg. Sprinkle with almonds and demerara sugar.
8 Bake wreath for 30 minutes or until golden and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Remove mould. Transfer wreath to a wire rack to cool. APRICOT FILLING
Stir apricots, sugar and the water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until apricots are soft. Drain. Blend or process apricots until smooth.