Day 10 of 12 Days of Baking: Christmas Classic Mincemeat Wreath

Let’s start off with a brief history lesson.
I have always been fascinated by the fast that this fruity, Christmas dessert staple had the word “meat” in it. Reading on about it, its history is something somehow joyful to read.
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Long before Nigella introduced salted caramel to the nation, the English had a fascination for combining the sweet with the savoury. The structure and components of the mincemeat has evolved through time, changing it from a savoury item used in main courses during Medieval times, to a sweet fruity dessert that we share in little pie cases.
Mince Pies were originally filled with meat, such as lamb, rather than a dried fruit mix as they are today. Sweetness came courtesy of honey or dried fruits, as sugar was not widely available, along with spices such as saffron and ginger. Liberally using spices in your food was one way to show your peers just how much money you had.
The mince pie began to get sweeter in the 18th century when meat had become optional. By the 19th century, the mince pie had acquired its modern taste.
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This was really a no-brainer. I wanted something that’s more than just a pie. Something that would balance out the sweetness of the mincemeat. So you can say that, essentially, this is a big cinnamon bun with a bit of extra oomph.
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The best thing about this is that it’s a show stopping center piece for your Christmas table. The possibility to decorate it is endless. Steel a snippet of mistletoe, nick a bauble off the tree, sprinkle some snowy powdered sugar, cinnamon sticks, dried fruits etc. And watch as the “OOh’s” and “AAh’s” sound off around your Christmas dinner.
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This wreath conveys all the comforting flavors and feelings of the holiday season. It can be served warm with thick brandy cream or custard as dessert or, once cool, slice into wedges and serve with a cup of tea or mulled wine.

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The technique I used was based on The Kitchn’s Cinnamon Roll Wreath. You can check it out for a bit more tips and tricks. But for mine, I couldn’t shape it as well because my dough seemed to have risen a bit too much. So I simply shaped it into the log, turned it into a circle, pinching the ends together, then I cut through the 2/3 of the dough, making around 24 slices.

“12 Days of Baking”
Day 1: Apple Frangipane Tart
Day 2: Rugelach
Day 3: Almond Linzer Cookies
Day 4: Chocolate Salami
Day 5: Almond ginger Biscotti
Day 6: Coffee Sablé
Day 7: Florentines
Day 8: Foolproof Holiday Fudge
Day 9: Pomegranate Rosemary Punch

Christmas Classic Mincemeat Wreath
Makes 24 slices

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (240ml) whole milk
  • 2/3 cup (135g) granulated sugar
  • 1 and 1/2 tablespoons Instant yeast (2 standard size packets)
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature and cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 and 1/2 cups (558g) all-purpose flour, plus more for hands/work surface

Filling

  • 6 Tablespoons (90g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 1 Jar (500 grams) M&S Christmas Class Mincemeat (or any alternative brand)

Directions:

  1. Make the dough: Warm the milk in the microwave for 1 minute. You’ll want it about 35°C.  Pour the warm milk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Gently whisk in the sugar and yeast. Cover with a towel and let sit until the yeast is foamy, about 5 minutes. On low speed, beat in the softened butter until it is slightly broken up. Next add the eggs, one at a time, and then the salt. On low speed, gradually add the flour. Once it is all added, beat on medium speed until a soft dough forms. Increase speed to medium-high and beat until the dough is soft and supple, about 5 minutes longer.
  2. Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm environment until doubled in size, about 1.5 hours.
  3. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Lightly flour the parchment paper. Place the dough on top and, with floured hands, pat down to roughly form a 10×20-inch rectangle. Make sure the dough is smooth and evenly thick.
  4. For the filling: Spread the softened butter all over the dough. Then spread the mincemeat as evenly as you can. Tightly roll up the dough to form a 20-inch long log.
  5. Shape the wreath: Form the roll into a circle, and cut into 24 1-inch rolls, only slicing ¾ of the way through so they are still connected at the bottom. Use kitchen shears if you need to.
  6. Place a ramekin in the middle of the wreath. This will help it hold its shape.
  7. Cover the wreath loosely with plastic wrap and slide a baking sheet underneath the whole thing. Use a large one with no edges (like this one!), so it can slide under easily. Allow to rise again in a warm environment until puffy, about 45 minutes – 1 hour.
  8. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the rolls are golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Bon Appetit 🙂

Overnight option: Prepare the rolls through step 6. Instead of allowing to rise in a warm environment in step 7, place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and allow the wreath to rest for up to 14 hours before baking. When it’s time to bake the next day, allow the rolls to come to room temperature and rise for 1 hour on the counter, or until almost doubled in size. Then bake as directed.

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