Babka wreath grazing board with cheese & spiced cranberry jam
Create a perfect centrepiece for your Christmas get-together with this showstopping bread wreath. Just add charcuterie, fruit, nuts, crackers and cheeses
- Serves: 10 persons
- 550g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 7g sachet fast-action dried yeast
- 1tbsp caster sugar
- 2eggs, beaten
- olive oil, for proving
- 150g butter, softened
- 5garlic cloves, crushed
- small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
- a few rosemary and sage sprigs, plus extra rosemary sprigs to garnish
- 1wheel of camembert (ensure vegetarian, if needed)
- halved figs, dried cranberries, sliced pears, dates, walnuts, almonds, cured meats and cheeses, or any charcuterie accompaniments of your choice, to serve (optional)
- 250g fresh or frozen cranberries
- 100g caster sugar
- 1tsp chilli flakes
Step 1Weigh the flour and yeast into a large bowl or stand mixer. Add the sugar and 2 tsp salt and combine using your fingers or a wooden spoon. Add most of the egg, reserving a little for glazing later, and 300ml warm water. Mix until the ingredients start to clump together, then tip the dough onto a work surface and knead for 8-10 mins until soft and elastic. Alternatively, continue to mix in the stand mixer for 5 mins. Clean out the bowl, then oil it lightly and tip the dough back into it. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for 2 hrs until doubled in size, or prove overnight in the fridge.
Step 2For the jam, put all the ingredients in a saucepan with 1 tbsp water. Simmer for 10 mins over a low heat, stirring often, until the cranberries have burst and the mixture is thick and glossy. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Meanwhile, mash the softened butter with the garlic, parsley, rosemary and sage.
Step 3If the dough has been chilled overnight, remove from the fridge 1 hr before baking to bring it to room temperature. Tip the dough onto a floured work surface and stretch into a rectangle. Dust with more flour and roll out until the rectangle is roughly 65 x 25cm. Spread the herby garlic butter all over the surface, then roll up into a tight spiral from one of the longer sides.
Step 4Using a sharp knife, cut the dough in half lengthways so you have two long pieces, exposing the garlic butter. Transfer the pieces to a large baking tray lined with baking parchment. Pinch the two pieces together at one end, then twist them together into a long plait. Bring the ends together into a circle to make a wreath shape – it should be about 40cm in diameter. Tuck one end under the other to hide the join. Will keep chilled for 4 hrs. Cover loosely with a tea towel and prove for 30 mins until the dough puffs up.
Step 5Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6. Brush the dough all over with the reserved beaten egg. Unwrap the wheel of camembert, return it to its wooden holder and put it in the centre of the wreath. Bake for 35 mins until the bread wreath is golden brown. Carefully slide the baked wreath and cheese onto a serving board. Cut off the top of the cheese, then spoon over the cranberry-chilli jam. Garnish with the extra rosemary sprigs. If serving as part of a charcuterie board, see tip below for how to assemble this.