Spiced fruit & pistachio bread wreath
- Preparation and cooking time
- plus 2 hrs 45 mins proving and rising
- A challenge
- Serves 10 - 12
Take the eccles cake to a whole new level by using the classic currant filling to make this decorative bread
For the bread dough
For the filling
- STEP 1
First make the bread dough. Warm the milk in a saucepan until you can see steam coming from the surface, but don’t let it boil. Add the butter and set aside. Tip the flour, yeast, sugar and ½ tsp salt into a large bowl. When the milk has cooled to hand temperature and the butter has melted, pour the liquid into the bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon, then tip out onto your work surface and bring together with your hands. Knead the dough for 10 mins or until soft. Put it in a clean, lightly oiled bowl and cover with a sheet of oiled cling film. Leave somewhere warm for about 2 hrs until doubled in size.
- STEP 2
Place the currants, mixed peel, cinnamon, mixed spice, zests and juice into a saucepan. Boil hard for a few mins until the fruit has absorbed the liquid and become nice and plump. Chill until cold, then mix with the pistachios, butter and sugar.
- STEP 3
When the dough is ready, tip out of the bowl and knead briefly to knock out the air bubbles. Roll out to a 45 x 28cm rectangle. Spread the buttery spiced fruit mixture over the surface of the dough. From one of the long edges, roll the dough to a tight cylinder, then bring the 2 ends to meet, creating a ring. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet with the join underneath.
- STEP 4
Using a sharp knife, cut incisions around the outside of the dough, about 3cm apart, in a sunburst pattern, going quite close to the centre, but not all the way through. Working your way around the outside, pull each piece of cut dough out a little, then push it down on one side, so that the cut edge is exposed and they’re on a curve to create a fan shape around the edge of the wreath. When you’re happy with the shape, re-cover with oiled cling film and leave to prove for about 45 mins until doubled in size. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
- STEP 5
Uncover the bread and brush all over with beaten egg. Bake for 25-30 mins until golden and hollow sounding when tapped on the base. Mix a little icing sugar with enough water to make a smooth runny icing. Whilst the bread is still warm, brush the icing over the surface with a pastry brush to make a sugary crust. Best eaten within 3 days.