I hope you've had a fab Christmas - I have. Of course I've eaten too much and have had a great time doing so with lots of family too. I took a planned break from the blog, which was just as well as Christmas was pretty full on and I'm not sure where I would have found time to write anything. But there's plenty to tell you starting with the penultimate #52Cookbooks and this week it's an edible wreath. Yes another wreath!
I'm a big fan of Christmas cake (well any cake actually) but with both my mum and MIL excelling at Christmas cakes, and MOH making his trademark Christmas puddings, there's really no need for me to bake anything traditionally Christmas cake-wise so I often choose something more Stollen-ish. Which I know is traditional too, but not so much in my family but I mean, why wouldn't you maximise your marzipan consumption at this time of year?
I'd got it into my head that I'd bake a kind of enriched dough, with fruit and marzipan shaped into a ring and slashed so some of the filling was exposed. I'd cooked one before from a recipe in a Good Food magazine, but could I find that recipe anywhere? Nope, despite having every Good Food magazine since about November 2002... I really need to find a way of knowing what's in which magazine easily!
So defeated - mainly because I didn't have the luxury of time to sit and peruse the magazines as there were sprouts that needed peeling, and many more jobs to do - I turned to my cookbooks looking for inspiration. I saw this Scandilicious book by Signe Johansen which is a beautiful book and one I've been meaning to pick up and cook from for a while and immediately spotted this Almond Kringle Wreath. So choice made - it was easy in the end!
I wasn't familiar with Kringle until now, but the recipe introduction explains Kringle originates from an old Norse word meaning ring or circle and it's a traditional treat found all over Scandinavia. It's traditional to shape the Kringle into a pretzel shape but is easier to shape into a wreath. Phew!
It was quite a wet dough, which worried me - I regularly make sourdough bread but this was way wetter than that so I added a touch more flour to the scalded milk, butter, beaten egg, flour and dried yeast. I thought I had some ground cardamom in the cupboard but could only find pods, so added some ground caraway and mixed spice instead.
The recipe says to mix this until it looks, well doughy! Then it's left for 30 minutes in a warm place - for me that's on top of the toaster under one of the under-cupboard lights. It works, don't knock it!
While it's doing its thing I made the marzipan "butter" in the food processor. That's simply whizzing marzipan, butter, ground almonds and an egg together, then adding a couple of tablespoons of caster sugar to taste. I've not done anything like this with marzipan before - usually it goes onto the outside of a cake or straight into my mouth...
Back to the dough and the recipe said to roll it out to a rectangle of 60 x 15cms, which seemed very precise. You'll not be surprised to discover I didn't measure mine...
Then I spread the marzipan butter on top of it, sprinkled the raisins which had soaked in hot water until now and started to roll it up...
Mission accomplished. Although the worktop looked a tad messy at the end.
My wreath was fairly large and sadly not uniform. It had risen well and I had more dough than I could make a ring from, so I cut the "spare" dough into six pieces and put them into a bun tin and left them to prove again for half an hour.
I glazed them with beaten egg, sprinkled over some sliced almonds and some Demerara sugar and baked in a warm oven for forty minutes until it was golden, remembering to check the smaller pieces before that!
- the dough was very wet to start with, I don't know if I needed to add more flour or not but I'm glad I did!
- there was no kneading needed, which was unexpected but welcomed!
- the marzipan butter turned out well; I think you could add other dried fruit instead of the raisins, apricots or glacé cherries would work well.
- I'd make it again, and next time I'd pay more attention, and perhaps even measure it! I'd definitely try to ensure it didn't bulge! I'd make it slightly smaller too, as while it looks good in my cake stand it didn't fit in my usual cake tin. And of course it would only fit into the plastic container I'd used to store my peeled spuds for Christmas dinner. Typical, hey?
- it tasted good and was a good end to our Christmas Eve dinner.