The anticipation of Christmas and the excitement of Advent bring out the cook in everyone, whether you’re making nibbles to serve with drinks for friends, planning your holiday season menu or baking heartfelt gifts for loved ones. From panettone and jam cookies, to nourishing salmon and potatoes, pumpkin wellington and a warming ginger punch, here are 24 seasonal recipes to add festive deliciousness to your celebrations and personal touch to your gift-giving.
Makes an 18 cm (7 inch) ring
WHAT YOU NEED
12 g (¼ oz) fresh yeast
40 g (1½ oz) butter
½ cup (125 ml) milk, plus 2 tbsp milk for brushing
1 small pinch saffron threads
25 g (1 oz) raw sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp ground cardamom
1⅓ cups (200 g) spelt flour, plus extra for dusting
1 egg, for glazing
50 g (1¾ oz) butter, at room temperature
25 g (1 oz) raw sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp vanilla bean paste
Grated zest of ½ orange
1 pinch salt
WHAT TO DO
Crumble the yeast into a large bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the milk and saffron, and heat until lukewarm. Pour the mixture over the yeast and stir until the yeast has dissolved. Stir in the sugar, salt, cardamom and flour. Knead for at least 5 minutes to make a smooth, pliable dough. Cover the bowl and set the dough aside to rest for 60–90 minutes or until it has doubled in volume.
Meanwhile, combine all of the ingredients for the filling in a small bowl and set aside.
Lightly dust your benchtop with flour and roll out the risen dough to a 50 x 30 cm (20 x 12 inch) rectangle. Spread the filling mixture over the dough, leaving an edge of about 1 cm (½ inch). Roll the dough up from the long side. Use a sharp knife to cut the rolled-up dough in half lengthways to make two long pieces. Turn the cut surfaces up and twist the two pieces into a plait, ensuring that the cut surfaces (showing the filling) face upwards.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F). Transfer the plait to a baking tray lined with baking paper and shape it into a ring by connecting the two ends. Loosely cover the ring and leave it to rise again for 45 minutes. Whisk the egg and milk and brush it over the ring. Bake until golden brown, about 18 minutes. Leave to cool a little on a wire rack.