For past couple of years my friends and I have had a tradition to organise an early Christmas dinner before our very international group sets off home for holidays. Every year my friend Gerard prepares enormous amount of cannelloni and I am responsible for the dessert no one actually can eat after starters and very filling main. With that in mind this year I decided to prepare something that works well both after the dinner and for next day’s breakfast as well.
I absolutely love poppy seed pastries, so poppy seed cake recipe by Royal Lilies that inspired this Christmas bread was a great find.
P.S. After the dinner we usually also do Secret Santa gift exchange. This year Santa brought me two recipe books. One about boozy cupcakes and another about Spanish food, so tipsy Spanish cupcakes might be coming soon to Hey, Cakes!
POPPY SEED, FRUIT AND NUT CHRISTMAS BREAD
4 cups (0.5kg) all purpose flour
80g butter, melted
1 cup (250ml) milk
25g fresh yeast
1/3 cup sugar
½ teaspoon salt
3 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
~3/4 cup (170g) poppy seeds
2/3 cups sugar
1 egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2/3 cups (150g grams) of your chosen dried fruit/nuts
(I used dates, toffee pieces, raisins and walnuts)
3-4 tablespoons of milk
1 1/2 cups of icing sugar
Juice of half lemon
- In a medium sized bowl dissolve fresh yeast in warm milk.
- Add egg, sugar and salt to the yeast and milk mixture, mixing after each addition.
- Sift and mix the flour into the mixture one cup at a time. Set aside.
- Melt butter and when it has cooled a little (it should not be hot!) mix with sunflower/vegetable oil. Pour this into the dough.
- Mix all together with your hands until incorporated. Add extra flour if necessary, but don’t overdo this. The dough has to be soft, slightly sticky and stretchy. Knead until you reach this.
- Form a ball from the dough and cover the bowl with cling film and kitchen towel. Place in a warm place for an hour.
In the meantime, start preparing the filling:
- Boil poppy seeds on medium heat for half an hour. Drain and place in a sauce pan.
- Add butter, sugar, fruit/nut mix, vanilla essence and lemon zest to poppy seeds.
- Fry this for 10 minutes, mixing regularly.
- Leave it to cool slightly and then gently fold in stiffly beaten egg white.
- Place the dough that has doubled in size on floured surface. Roll it out in approximately 60cm x 40cm rectangle.
- Spread the filling across the whole surface of the rectangle.
- Start rolling the dough from the longest edge until you get one approximately 60 cm long roll.
- Cut the roll down the middle leaving one end connected. This way you’ll get two open mini rolls.
- Carefully twist those together.
- Once complete pull the ends together creating a circle from the twist. Tuck the uncut end under the other.
- Leave it to raise in a warm place for another hour.
- Heat the oven to 180°c and bake for about 40 to 50 minutes.
- When the cake has cooled completely, mix together milk, icing sugar and lemon juice.
- Using a piping bag decorate the bread however you’d like
- Decorate with some leftover nuts or fruits.