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    Holiday: Alsatian Dry Fruit Christmas Bread

    Source of Recipe

    Hubert Keller

    Recipe Introduction

    Traditionally eaten on Christmas Eve, now a days, it is more often served at dinner on Christmas or New Year's Day

    List of Ingredients

    Dried Fruits and Walnuts
    1/2 cup California golden raisins
    1/2 cup California Zante currants
    1 cup dried pears, 1/2-inch dice
    1 cup dried apricots, 1/2-inch dice
    1 cup dried figs, 1/2-inch dice
    1 cup dried dates, 1/2-inch dice
    1/2 cup dried cherries
    1 cup walnuts, chopped coarsely
    2 cups Kirsch from Alsace
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

    1/2 cup warm milk (about 105 to 115F)
    2 tablespoons active dry yeast
    1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

    5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
    1/3 cup granulated sugar
    Pinch of sea salt
    5 eggs
    6 tablespoons milk, at room temperature
    1 cup butter, diced, at room temperature

    1 egg yolk plus 1/2 teaspoon water for egg wash
    8 to 10 whole walnuts or almonds


    Dried fruit and walnut mixture
    Two days in advance, measure dried fruits and walnuts into a porcelain or other non-reactive dish. Add Kirsch and cinnamon; stir well to combine. Cover airtight with plastic wrap and set aside at cool room temperature for 2 days. Stir from time to time.

    Fruit bread
    Preheat oven to 375F. For starter, measure warm milk into a small bowl and add yeast and 1/2 cup flour. Stir together; cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes in a warm place, or until mixture is foamy.

    Meanwhile, combine 5 cups flour, sugar and salt in bowl of electric mixer with paddle. Stir in eggs and milk. Mix on low speed for 5 to 8 minutes. Gradually add butter and continue mixing for 5 to 8 minutes longer. Replace paddle with dough hook. Add starter and mix for 10 minutes more or until dough is smooth and elastic and forms a ball. Add more flour if necessary. Transfer to a well-oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap or damp towel. Let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in size

    Drain fruits and walnuts, if any liquid is left. Punch down brioche dough and add fruits and nuts. Stir vigorously to combine. Remove mixture from bowl and transfer to floured working surface. Shape into two loaves about 8 inches long and 2 1/2 inches wide. Place on a baking sheet and brush with egg wash. Gently press whole walnuts or almonds on top of loaf forming an attractive design. Bake on middle rack of preheated oven at 375F until golden brown about 45 to 55 minutes. When done, carefully transfer loaf to wire rack and let cool to room temperature.

    Serves 10 to 12




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