This Danish Pastry Wreath is a recipe that has been in my family for as long as I can remember. Every Christmas Eve ends with the process of making "the wreath" and every Christmas morning begins with the smell of baking pastry wafting into the family room. For me, this pastry wreath is synonymous with the holidays, tradition, and most importantly, family. While I currently don't have any children of my own, I know that when that day comes this recipe will live on in my household. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have (and still do)! —Bonnie Rae
1 1/2 cups
very warm water
active dry yeast
Almond Filling and Glaze
crushed zwieback crackers (you can normally find these in the baby food section). If you can't find zwieback, use crushed almond flavored cookies
unsifted confectioners' (powdered) sugar
3 to 4 tablespoons
In This Recipe
In bowl, beat butter and the 1/4 cup of flour with a wooden spoon until smooth. Place one 13" x 9" sheet of waxed paper on wet surface. Spread the butter and flour mixture onto waxed paper to form a 12” x 8” rectangle. Cover the rectangle with another sheet of 13" x 9" waxed paper, place on cookie sheet, and refrigerate until dough is ready.
Heat milk slightly. Add sugar and salt; stir to dissolve. Cool to lukewarm.
Pour water into a separate large bowl, sprinkle with yeast, and stir to dissolve yeast. Stir in milk mixture, egg, and 3 cups of flour; beat with wooden spoon until smooth. Mix in remaining 3/4 cup of flour with hands until dough leaves sides of bowl. Cover bowl and refrigerate dough for 1/2 hour.
Turn dough out onto lightly floured pastry cloth; roll into 16” x 12” rectangle. Removed waxed paper from chilled butter layer and place on half of dough. Fold the other half of dough over butter layer; pinch the edges to seal.
With the fold on your right, roll the dough out from the center to a 16” x 8” rectangle. From the short side, fold the dough into thirds, making 3 layers; seal the edges; chill for 1 hour.
Repeat the rolling and folding (if the butter breaks through, brush lightly with flour); seal edges; chill 1/2 hour. Roll; fold again; seal edges; chill wrapped in foil for a minimum of 3 hours (can be chilled overnight).
Roll half of the dough into a 22” x 8” strip (keep remaining half chilled). Cut the strip into thirds, lengthwise.
In a bowl, mix almond paste, crushed zwieback crackers, melted butter, egg, and almond extract. Fill center of each strip with about 1/3 cup; close edges of over filling. Braid.
Form into wreath about 6” across in center. Place the wreath on brown paper and then place onto cookie sheet; seal the ends of the wreath. (Repeat with remaining dough for second wreath.) Let rise in warm place 1 hour or until doubled.
While the wreaths are rising, preheat over to 375 degrees. Bake for 1/2 hour or until golden brown.
While the wreaths bake, mix the glaze of confectioners’ (powdered) sugar tablespoons milk. Once the wreaths are finished baking, frost with glaze.