Aunt Judy's Christmas Bread
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"A braided yeast bread filled with almond, pastry cream, and walnut fillings. This is a recipe that my aunt used to make every year for Christmas morning when the entire family would gather at her house. Now I make it for my family. It takes awhile to make and uses an insane amount of dishes, but it's worth it. So delicious!"
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Ingredients3 h 30 m servings 376
Original recipe yields 28 servings (2 loaves)
- Mix water, yeast, and 1 tablespoon sugar together in a small bowl until yeast is raised and bubbly, 5 to 10 minutes.
- Cream butter and 1 cup sugar together in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Pour in warm milk and add yeast mixture, eggs, and salt; mix together. Mix in flour until just incorporated; do not knead dough.
- Move dough to a large bowl and cover with a towel. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch dough down and let rise for another 45 minutes.
- While dough is rising, heat milk for pastry filling in a medium saucepan until warm, 2 to 3 minutes. Whisk in 3 tablespoons flour gradually. Beat egg yolk in a separate bowl and add a little of the warm milk mixture to temper it; whisk yolk mixture into milk mixture. Mix in sugar and salt. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes.
- Let cool to room temperature, about 5 minutes. Cover the top with plastic wrap, touching the filling, to prevent skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, make almond filling by mixing butter, sugar, and almond extract together in a bowl until blended. Set aside.
- Make nut crumb filling by crumbling flour, sugar, walnuts, and butter together in a bowl. Set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Line 2 half sheet pans with parchment paper or silicone mats.
- Divide the dough and fillings in 1/2 for 2 loaves. Set aside a small amount of nut filling to sprinkle on top of loaves.
- Roll out 1/2 of the dough onto 1 of the prepared pans into a rectangle that fills the pan. Spread cream filling lengthwise down the middle 1/3 of the dough, leaving about 1 inch free on each short end. Sprinkle almond filling on top of cream, followed by nut crumb filling.
- Make diagonal cuts into the dough on either side of the filling down each side, about 2 inches apart; don't cut too close to filling or it will leak out. Fold dough strips across the top of the filling, alternating each side, to make a braid. Tuck the 2 short ends into the braid to prevent leaking. Brush with reserved egg white and sprinkle with 1/2 of the reserved nut crumb filling. Repeat for second loaf.
- Bake loaves in the preheated oven until golden, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for at least 20 minutes. Slice and serve.
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Per Serving: 376 calories; 17.2 50.8 5.7 54 236 Full nutrition