A festive sage and speck pull-apart Christmas tree topped with a roasted rhubarb and orange jam brioche.
For the roasted rhubarb and orange jam:
For the rhubarb jam, preheat the oven to 180°C fan-forced. Place two saucers or small plates into freezer for testing jam consistency. Line a large baking tray with sides with baking paper.
Chop the rhubarb into 2cm pieces and place a single layer in the baking tray. Combine orange juice and brown sugar and pour over rhubarb. Roast rhubarb for 10-15 minutes or until just cooked and not falling apart.
Transfer roasted rhubarb to a large saucepan. Add the sugar and orange rind. Bring to the boil while stirring, then continue to cook until you achieve a jam consistency – test by placing a teaspoon of jam onto saucer from the freezer. Spread jam into a lamington tin and allow to cool. (You can reheat the remaining jam and place in hot sterilised jar and seal).
Roasted rhubarb and orange jam brioche star and base:
Lightly grease two large bowls with oil and set aside.
Dissolve yeast in warm water – set aside for about 5mins until foamy. In the bowl of stand mixer combine warm milk, egg, butter, sugar, and salt; add yeast mixture and 3 cups flour. Beat on medium speed until smooth, about one minute. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Replace paddle with dough hook and then knead for 5-10mins until smooth and elastic. Test by picking up a small amount of dough and spread it into a square – if the dough becomes almost transparent and doesn’t tear it is ready. Shape into a ball and place into oiled bowl. Cover with a cling wrap and leave to prove in a warm place until doubled in size (approx. 1 hour).
Make Christmas tree dough while the star dough is proving:
Preheat oven to 200°C. Line two large aluminium trays with baking paper and set aside.
Knock down dough and transfer onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead dough a few times and shape into a log (approx. 25 cm). First divide dough in half. Set aside one half for base of tree. Flatten star dough ball slightly and cut into 4 equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Flatten each ball by hand. Roll into four circles (approx. 15 cm diameter, 3-4 mm thickness).
Place one dough circle onto prepared tray and spread with about one tablespoon of the rhubarb and orange jam leaving a 1 cm edge. Place another dough circle on top of spread and cover with one tablespoon of the jam, leaving a 1 cm edge. Repeat with a third dough circle and more jam. Top with remaining dough circle, press edges together to seal and trim excess dough from edges.
Using a 4cm cookie cutter press lightly into centre of dough to make a light imprint.
Cut dough into quarters to the circle imprint. Cut each quarter in half lengthways. Then cut each eighth into half giving a total of 16 sections.
Pick up two consecutive segments and twist them twice, rolling outwards. Press ends together and flatten edge slightly to seal. Repeat with remaining sections to create a total of eight twisted portions. Cover with plastic wrap. Leave to prove in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Use remaining dough to make a basket to place at the base of the Christmas tree. Roll dough out into a rectangle. Cut rectangle into six long, narrow strips. Spread some of the remaining jam over three dough strips. Place the remaining strips on top of jam-covered strips. Join the three strips at one end. Plait strips. Create basket shape from plaited strips. Place onto tray with the star. Cover with plastic wrap. Leave to prove in a warm place for 20 minutes.
Bake for 20-25 minutes (180°C), until golden brown.
Allow to cool and dust star with edible gold dust or icing sugar (optional) before serving.
For the sage and speck Christmas tree:
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add 250ml of milk to the butter and bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat, add the sugar and stir. Add the remaining 250ml of milk and set aside for five minutes. Add the yeast, stir to combine and set aside for five minutes or until the surface is foamy.
Place the flour, salt, eggs and yeast mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer with a dough hook attached and knead for 5-10 minutes or until the dough is smooth. Transfer to the lightly oiled bowl, turn the dough to cover in oil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Prepare filling ingredients while dough is rising.
Preheat oven to 200°C. Place the speck and garlic cloves on a large oven tray lined with baking paper and cook for 10–12 minutes or until the speck is crisp. Set the speck aside and allow the garlic to cool slightly.
Squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins and place in a small food processor. Add most of the sage leaves and 125ml of the oil and process until well combined. Set aside. Melt some butter in a small frying pan and fry the remaining sage leaves until crisp. Set aside for decorating the Christmas tree.
In a medium bowl mix together the speck, fontina, cranberries, pistachios and the sage and garlic oil. Cut dough in half. Roll out each half of dough on a lightly floured surface to a large rectangle – 32 x 35cm. Spread half the speck, sage, fontina, cranberries and pistachio mixture. Cut dough into half lengthways. Repeat with remaining dough and fillings.
Starting from longest edge, roll each strip to enclose filling. Cut each roll into nine rounds.
Place one dough round on the prepared baking sheet. Next add two rounds below the original ball. Continue adding one round on each row until there are eight rounds in the last row – forming a triangular Christmas tree. Leave space between each round to allow dough to spread on proving. Ensure joins of each round are on the inside.
Cover the Christmas tree with plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes or until dough balls are doubled in size and touching.
Remove the plastic wrap, brush with the remaining oil and cook for 20–25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
Assemble the pull-apart centrepiece:
Place the Christmas tree onto a very large board. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes. Attach the star to the top of the tree. Place the base at the bottom of the tree. Decorate the tree with the crispy sage leaves and some defrosted cranberries.
Nutritional analysis per serving (48 servings)
Note: The information shown is Edamam's estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.
*This recipe has not been edited or tested by the Bake Off Food Department.
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