What a lovely bread to serve at Christmas time--visions of sugar plums. I make a lot of sweet breads at the holidays and my family enjoys them. Baking is one of my hobbies which I cherish dearly. Slivered almonds can be substituted for pine nuts.
INGREDIENTS (for 2 servings):
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup candied mixed fruit
- 1 cup raisins
- 3/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- 1 cup cherries
Dissolve 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 cup warm water in large mixer bowl. Sprinkle in yeast. Let stand 10 minutes, then stir well.
Add 1/2 cup sugar, melted butter or margarine, salt, lemon rind, and 2 cups flour. Beat for 2 minutes at medium speed with electric mixer. Add 2 cups more flour and eggs; beat 3 minutes. Stir in almost all remaining flour, using enough flour to make a soft dough.
Knead dough on floured board until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. Place in lightly greased bowl. Cover with greased waxed paper and a tea towel. Let rise in warm place 75 - 85 degrees F (25 - 30 degrees C)until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
Punch down dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured board, and knead in raisins, candied fruit, and nuts. Shape into two round loaves. Place each in a well greased, 9 inch, round cake pan. Cover with tea towel. Let rise in warm place until doubled, 1 - 1 1/2 hours.
Bake at 350 degrees F ( 175 degrees C) for 45 to 55 minutes. Remove from pans immediately. Cool on wire racks.
Mix together confectioners sugar, 1 1/2 tablespoons water, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Spoon onto loaves. Decorate with cherries or almonds. Alternatively, dust loaves with confectioners sugar.