Thursday, December 8, 2011

{RECIPE} Christmas Braid

Its been a tradition in our family sine 1975 (that's long before I was born) to make Christmas Braid. My mom would make it for all of our neighbors and for our family too. We enjoy it on Christmas morning as part of breakfast. Our neighbors love it and its since become part of their Christmas traditions too. I think most people that try it think the filling is apple pie filling but is actually pineapple! Delicious!

Christmas Braid
Mountain Fuel -- A Metcalf Christmas Tradition since 1975

Dissolve in a large mixing bowl:
2 Tbs. yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup warm milk
Stir in, beating until smooth:
2 cups flour
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cardamom
Mix in to make a moderately stiff dough:
3 to 3 1/2 cups flour

Turn dough out on a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and satiny, about 10 minutes (or knead in bread mixer). Place ini a buttered bowl, turning buttered side up. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours. While dough is rising, make the filling and let it cool.

Punch dough down; divide into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion (one at a time) into 12x9 rectangle. Spoon lenghtwise down the center 1/4 of the pinapple filling (recipe follows).
Slash dough on each side of filling into twelve 1" wide strips--careful not to cut all the way to the filling--leave about 1/2 inch. Weave these strips across the filling in the following manner: starting at the top criss-cross the first two strips on either side. Press ends into the opposite sides of bread, and seal the ends so the filling doesn't ooze out. Repeat the criss-cross and pressing action until you reach the end. being careful to seal the end as you did the top.
Lift the braid carefully on the prepared cookie sheet, gently stretching a little to slightly expose the filling.

Brush each braid with a mixture of 1 egg yold and 2 Tbs. milk--try not to get it in the filling, just on the dough.

Cover and let rise until double, about 10-15 minutes.
Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
Drizzle with Glaze (recipe follows)

Pineapple Filling:
Combine in a medium saucepan:
2 (20 ounce) cans of crushed pineapple, well drained
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
4 Tbs. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Cook ovr medium flame, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened and clear. Boil and stir an additional 2 minutes. Cool.

Powdered Sugar Glaze:
Combine in small mixing bowl and beat until well blended:
2 cups powdered sugar
3 Tbs. Milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
May decoate with sprinkles. May be frozen and heated.

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