For some reason, I was really interested in Winter Solstice this year. Maybe it’s because of that George Winston song (Listen to it! It will make you happy.) Maybe it was the Lunar Eclipse. But for whatever reason, I started reading a lot about its ancient origins, and I wanted to incorporate some part of it into our Christmas celebration.
I thought we’d start with a Yule Wreath.
I found this recipe from Cookie Baker Lynn. And then I found an adapted version from Natashya. So I went with it, even though I was completely intimidated. You see, I’ve never made bread before. Or anything close to bread. And this is bread, stuffed with stuff, and made pretty. Complicated. Scary. But actually, not hard at all. And the end result is super impressive. Want to impress someone (mainly yourself) this Holiday?…then do this.
Adapted from Betty Crocker’s International Cookbook
1 package active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 deg. F)
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
3-1/4 to 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in milk, sugar, margarine, egg, cardamom, salt and 2 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
2-Turn dough onto lightly floured surface: knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, 1 to 1-1/2 hours.
3-Prepare Salmon Filling
Savoury Salmon Filling
1/2 lb. smoked salmon fillet, chopped into half inch pieces
1 medium onion, sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 head kale or chard, chopped (I used Kale!)
4 oz. cream cheese, cut into small pieces
2 tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
1 red pepper, chopped
In a saute pan, heat up some olive oil and onions. Cook on medium until soft and beginning to colour. Add garlic, cook one more minute and add kale. Stir and let wilt down. Add cream cheese and butter and stir until combined. Add red peppers and salmon, let heat through together, remove from heat and let cool to almost room temperature.
Use as filling for Yule Wreath
4- Punch down the dough. Roll into rectangle, 15 x 9-inches, on a lightly floured surface. Spread with the filling to within 1/4-inch of the edges. Roll up tightly, beginning at the wide side. Pinch edge of dough into roll to seal well. Stretch roll to make even. With sealed edge down, shape into ring on lightly greased cookie sheet. Pinch ends together.
5- With scissors or kitchen shears, make cuts 2/3 of the way through the ring at 1-inch intervals.
Turn each section on it’s side (90 degree turn), to show off the pretty swirled filling. Cover loosely with plastic wrap sprayed with cooking spray. Let rise until double, about 40 to 50 minutes.
I loved making this recipe. It felt so 1960s, 1970s. And it looks super impressive in the end…the photos don’t do it justice.
So if you’re interested at all, you should try it. It’s easier than you would think. And you will feel rad when it’s done.