Swedish Almond Wreath (Mandelkrans)
- 1 package active dry yeast (2¼ teaspoons)
- ¼ cup lukewarm water
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- ¾ cup whole milk, lukewarm
- 1 egg, at room temperature
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and separated into lumps
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 3 to 3½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ cup blanched almonds
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- ⅛ teaspoon natural almond extract
- 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- Pearl sugar
- In a large bowl proof the yeast and 1 Tablespoon of the sugar in the lukewarm water for 5 minutes, until bubbles appear. Stir in the remaining 3 Tablespoons sugar, the lukewarm milk, egg, butter and salt. Add the flour, mixing well to make a soft dough.
- Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead until it springs back to the touch, 8 to 10 minutes, adding up to ½ cup more flour if necessary. Or knead with the dough hook of a mixer at slow speed for 5 minutes.
- Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a clean, lightly greased bowl, turning it to grease the top. Leave it to rise, covered, in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1½ hours. Punch the dough down and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Let sit while you prepare the filling.
- In a food processor grind together the almonds and the sugar until the nuts are very finely ground. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the softened butter to form a mass. Stir in the almond extract.
- Roll the dough out to a 12 x 18” rectangle. With a small spatula spread the almond paste evenly over the entire rectangle. Starting at the long end, roll the dough up jellyroll fashion into a log. Transfer it to a parchment-lined baking sheet and set it seam-side down. Bring the ends together to form a ring, sealing them tightly.
- With scissors, snip the dough ⅔ of the way through to the center of the ring at 1-inch intervals. Gently turn each cut section on its side. Leave the loaf to rise, uncovered, until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. Bake the bread for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden. While it is baking, prepare the glaze by mixing together the confectioner’s sugar and orange juice.
- While the loaf is still warm spoon the glaze over the loaf. Sprinkle with pearl sugar. Transfer carefully to a rack to cool.
Recipe by Darra Goldstein at https://darragoldstein.com/swedish-almond-wreath/