At your holiday brunch, tell guests to have fun with this pull-apart treat and enjoy with coffee or tea.
1/2 cup whole milk
One 1/4-ounce packet active dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon fine salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 3/4 to 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (see Cook’s Note)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
Nonstick cooking spray, for spraying the bowl and plastic wrap
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup confectioners’ sugar, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Candied cherries and fresh mint leaves, for serving
- 1. For the dough: Warm 1/2 cup water and the milk in a small saucepan over low heat until a thermometer registers 100 to 110 degrees F. Remove from the heat and sprinkle in the yeast and then a pinch of granulated sugar. Set aside undisturbed until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- 2. Whisk together the salt, nutmeg, 2 3/4 cups of the flour and the remaining granulated sugar in a large bowl.
- Beat together the melted butter, vanilla and egg yolk in a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment on medium high until combined. Add the yeast mixture and continue to mix on low until combined. Add the flour mixture and mix on low until a thick and slightly sticky dough forms. Once the dough comes together, switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed, adding up to 1/4 cup more flour if needed, to make a soft, smooth ball that sticks to the hook, 3 to 4 minutes.
- 3. Coat a large bowl generously with cooking spray. Add the dough, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 hour. (The dough can also be tightly wrapped and refrigerated overnight. Let it come to room temperature before proceeding with the recipe.)
- 4. For the filling: Combine the butter, granulated sugar, flour and cinnamon in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Set aside.
- 5. On a floured surface, roll out the dough into a 10-by-18-inch rectangle. Sprinkle the butter mixture over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border along the top edge. Tightly roll the dough into an 18-inch log. Pinch to seal at the seam and then put on the counter seam-side down. Form the log into a circle, pinching the ends together. Squeeze and roll the dough if needed so it is an even width throughout.
- 6. Transfer the log to a parchment lined-baking sheet. Cut 16 slits across the log, about 1 inch apart; each slit should go about three-quarters of the way through the log so that it is still completely intact. Bend about a quarter of the log by turning some of the newly cut “tabs” out so that the pinwheels of filling are facing up. Continue turning the “tabs” out and bending the log until you have a ring. Butt the ends up against each other. Loosely cover the wreath with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray and let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
- 7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake until the wreath is golden brown and puffed, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool on a rack until just warm, about 10 minutes.
- 8. For the glaze: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar, milk and lemon juice in a medium bowl to make a thick but pour-able glaze, adding a little more confectioners’ sugar if needed to get the right consistency. Drizzle over the wreath and let harden before serving. To serve, decorate with candied cherries and mint leaves to resemble holly sprigs.
When measuring flour, we spoon it into a dry measuring cup and level off excess. (Scooping directly from the bag compacts the flour, resulting in dry baked goods.)