Happy Christmas Eve eve, everyone.
We’ve reached the end of the 12 Days of Christmas series and we’ve just about reached the end of 2021.
That is absolutely bonkers to me.
The year flew by for me, and what a year it’s been. I have mixed emotions.
On the one hand, it’s been busy, challenging, and at times very stressful.
On the other hand, it’s also been very rewarding, validating and blessed.
Life’s not perfect, these are trying times we’re living in, and I’d be lying if I said it never got to me.
But at the end of the day, I like my life. I love what I do. I feel very blessed and grateful that I get to do it, and I have people in my life whose love and support makes all of the above possible. Those are facts that I try to remind myself of whenever times do get rough.
I understand that the holidays are not a particularly enjoyable time of year for everyone, for various reasons. To whoever you are and wherever you are that’s reading this, I hope that you can find at least a little bit of comfort, peace and joy, in whatever way that looks like for you. For me, doing this Christmas baking series is a huge source of my yearly holiday cheer. If it’s brought some to any of you, I really couldn’t ask for anything more.
I’ve been so excited to share this recipe with you all as the finale of the 12 Days of Christmas. It really surpassed my expectations and hopes for it when I first got the idea to try it out.
I’ve made pull apart bread twice before on the blog, with fantastic results. I knew going into this year’s series that I wanted to give it a holiday makeover, and this is what I came up with.
Pull apart bread requires a sturdy enriched dough that can stand up to the filling, and so I went with my go-to challah recipe for this. The filling itself is my go-to cranberry sauce recipe, but you can use whatever cranberry flavored jelly/preserves thing you prefer.
One thing I must insist on though is that you make sure your baking pan/tin is big enough to accommodate this loaf. I’m not kidding: this recipe makes a LOT of bread, y’all. Feel free to invite over a crowd, OR, make plans for a killer pain perdu. Both will work.
You guys, please have an amazing holiday and rest of the year. Congratulations for making it through 2021; here’s to 2022 and whatever it has in store for us. Please stay safe out there.
Day 12: Cranberry Pull Apart Wreath
Cranberry Pull Apart Wreath
- 2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon white sugar
- 1/2 cup honey
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- the zest of 1 large orange
- 2 cups of homemade cranberry sauce or preserves. (I use this recipe)
In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water. Sprinkle white sugar on top of that and allow to proof about 10 minutes until yeast is frothy.
Beat in honey, oil, eggs, orange zest and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. (You may not need to use all the flour, this varies according to kitchen temperature and time of year)
Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.
Grease and flour a 16 cup tube pan; set aside.
Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and keep one half covered in the bowl while you work with the other
Roll the half out into a 12 inch square. Use a spatula to spread HALF of the cranberry sauce/preserves over the dough. Use a pizza wheel, bench scraper or sharp knife to cut the square into 16 small squares. Make 4 stacks of 4 squares each. Place each stack on its side into the tube pan. Gently separate the dough layers so the dough fills the pan (it doesn’t have to be neat). Repeat this step with the other half of dough and the other half of the cranberry sauce/preserves.
Cover tube pan with plastic wrap and damp kitchen towel and allow to rise in warm place until dough rises by half its size, about 1 hour. Just before baking, sprinkle the top with white sugar. Bake until loaf is browned & cooked through (195-200 degrees F inner temp), tenting with foil if browning too quickly. Allow to cool in pan for about 30 minutes, then loosen with a knife around the sides. Turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool for about 30 more minutes before slicing and serving.