For me, the smell of Christmas is less about the pine trees and crisp wrapping paper and more about the smells of hot mince pies and baking bread.
Hence the latest challenge from Fresh from the Oven fitted perfectly with a couple of days of baking madness which I had in the week before Christmas. In amongst a batch of french bread, scones, gingerbread and mince pies, the latest challenge of a Festive Wreath blended right in.
It was also a great excuse to have the heating on all day (for the yeast, not for me of course) rather than doing my usual piling on of layers as I refuse to give in to the central heating timer!
So, I got the dough all organised and through the first rise with no problems, and rolled it out ready for the buttery, fruity filling. I think this is where I made my first amateur mistake:
It was quite a firm dough and it was unwilling to be pulled into a rectangular shape, so I settled for an oval and just got on with spreading the filling all over it.
I then rolled it up and cut down the middle (hoping this was the right thing to do). You can just see on the photo below that because the dough was oval, this left the middle much fuller than the ends, which were a bit weedy in comparison.
Nonetheless, I twisted the two halves together and made it into a ring and did my best to overlap the ends and stick them together, in the hope of evening the shape out a bit. I was so busy I even forgot to take a picture of it.
I then put it aside for the second rise, and made my second mistake. I should have put something in the middle for it to rise around, like a tin can or something. By the end of the second rise there was barely a hole in the middle at all and by the end of the baking it had turned into...
... a giant danish pastry / croissant mix up!
The proof of this one was in the eating though. It was delicious so HUGE thanks to Michelle at Utterly Scrummy Food For Families for the recipe and brilliant instructions. Tim has already ordered another one for breakfast on News Year's morning and I have a feeling it will feature again after that.
Can Christmas really be over already??