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We’ve created a show-stopping festive bake that will be sure to impress your guests. Makes a great Boxing Day brunch slathered with leftover brandy butter. This recipe makes two, so you could wrap and freeze one for later.
Preparation Time: 1 hour + 12 hours (overnight) rising + 2-3 hours proving + 15 minutes cooling
Cooking Time: 45 minutes – 1 hour
Tip the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer, add the sugar and yeast to one side, and the salt and cinnamon to the other.
Make a well in the middle, and add the warm milk. Knead with the dough hook for a few seconds, then crack in the eggs one at a time.
Once all the eggs have been added, keep kneading for 6-8 minutes until smooth. With the motor still running, add small knobs of the butter to the bowl, making sure they’re mixed in well before adding the next. Knead for a further 2-3 minutes until you can no longer see any butter, and the dough is soft and shiny. The dough will be very sticky and fall reluctantly from the dough hook.
Cover the bowl with a shower cap, or reusable bag and leave in the fridge for 12-24 hours to prove overnight.
Mix the filling ingredients together in a bowl.
Line 2 x 900g loaf tins with baking paper.
Once the dough has doubled in size, and is well chilled, scrape out onto a floured worksurface. Pat and shape into a rough rectangle, then roll out with a rolling pin to a rectangle about 50cm x 40cm, just under 5mmm thick.
Spread over the mincemeat filling, leaving a 1cm border around all edges (this stops it leaking out when rolled). Starting with the longest side closest to you, roll the dough fairly tightly, into a long thin roll.
Once rolled, cut the whole sausage in half to make two rolls, then spin then around so you’re looking at them vertically. Using a sharp knife, cut the rolls in half down the middle, keeping the top 5cm attached. Position both sides of the roll cut-side up so you can see all the vertical layers of filling.
Spiral each piece of dough together, keeping the cut sides up, to make a twist, then tuck each end underneath to neaten. Transfer to the prepped tin and repeat with the other dough spiral. Cover again and leave to prove for 2-3 hours in a warm place until puffed and risen slightly.
Heat the oven to 180C, 160C fan/gas 4. Glaze the tops of both babkas with egg wash and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, side-by-side if you can in the oven, until deep golden brown and crisp topped. Cover loosely with foil if the mincemeat filling is catching after 30 mins of baking. Once removed, leave to cool in the tins.
While the babkas are cooling, put the syrup ingredients in a small pan and simmer for 2-3 minutes until the sugar dissolves. While the babkas and syrup are still hot, brush the syrup over the babkas. Leave to cool completely in the tins.
Serve as is, or mix icing sugar with enough orange juice to make a smooth, running icing. Drizzle over the top of the babkas, scatter with more orange zest and some toasted flaked almonds if you like.
500g (plus more to dust) Marriage’s Finest Strong White Bread Flour
100g golden caster sugar
7g sachet fast action yeast
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
100ml milk (warmed)
4, plus 1 beaten to glaze eggs (medium)
100g unsalted butter (soft, cut into cubes)
400g jar mincemeat
25g flaked almonds
2 tbsp ground almonds
1 eating apple (peeled, cored, finely chopped)
½ orange zest and juice
50g golden caster sugar
You’ll also need
Stand mixer with dough hook
Shower cap or proving bag
2 x loaf tins (900g)