Last week, the lovely Amelia Toohey of the Flower Era came to town. Well, to our farm at least. Amelia has been helping out this year at our Local is Lovely workshops and we’d been hatching plans for ages to get her to Orange to host a couple of workshops at the Farm Kitchen. We did a Food and Flowers lunch on Thursday which I’ll post about separately, and then on Friday, a wreath-making workshop which was my favourite morning up at the kitchen, probably ever.
Amelia took everyone through every step of the process and they all left with the most gorgeous wreaths to take home. And while they used foliage and moss to construct their creations, I made a few from flour, eggs and butter. We had these for morning tea with iced tea and fresh, local cherries and strawberries. They didn’t last long at all but smelt and tasted pretty great. There may also have been some Michael Buble Christmas tunes playing too. Maybe.
Cinnamon Christmas Wreath
I’ve been in love with the idea of a sweet, baked Christmas ‘wreath’ since seeing this post by Call me Cupcake, and so when we decided to run this workshop tried out a few different recipes until I hit on this one, which for me at least worked best. This recipe is closely adapted from one given in Made from Scratch by the Australian Women’s Weekly test kitchen. Which, by the way, I highly HIGHLY recommend to anyone who loves cooking (full stop). There are recipes for everything from ricotta to haloumi, preserves, smoked meats and sweet breads like this one. And like all the Weekly publications, their recipes are tripple tested and completely bomb-proof. Anyway, this sweet, cinnamon wreath is just heaven to share and, if you like baking things like this, fun to make too. It’s best on the day it’s made or reheated the next day and served with a little jam. Serves 8-10.
10g dried yeast (3 tsp)
1 1/2 tbsp caster sugar
1/2 cup warm buttermilk
2 egg yolks
100g butter, melted
3/4 cup warm water
3 cups plain flour
Pinch of salt
100g butter, softened
2 tsp cinnamon sugar
1/3 cup raw caster sugar
Combine the yeast, sugar and warm buttermilk in the bowl of an electric mixer with dough hook (or a large bowl if you are kneading by hand) and leave, covered for 10 minutes or until frothy. Add the yolks, butter, flour and salt and knead for 10 minutes or until lovely and smooth. If doing this by hand, please note the dough is fairly sticky and needs to be so don’t add too much flour as you go. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size.
Line a large baking tray with paper and lightly dust a work surface. Gently roll out the dough into a large rectangle and transfer to the tray, cover with plastic and place in the fridge for an hour. This will make the twisting/rolling part much easier. Preheat oven to 200C. Beat the soft butter together with cinnamon and sugar and set aside. Now, once ready to roll, take the dough out of the fridge and spread with the butter, sugar mixture.
Roll dough, from the longest edge of the rectangle into one long sausage. Now, cut this in half lengthways, take the two ends and twist together into a braid, pressing the ends together. This bit can take a bit of practice but honestly it’s quite fun and if you take a look at this website and the various steps, you’ll get the idea. Gently transfer back to the lined baking tray and bake for 10 minutes at 200 then reduce heat to 180C and bake for a further 25 minutes or until the wreath is golden brown. Serve warm with fresh cherries and a big self-satisfied grin.