Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

Christmas is only four weeks away and I am thoroughly enjoying the build up. Especially when it comes to creating new recipes to share with you here. Food is a big part of our Christmas, with tradition dictating our ham is cooked on Christmas Eve, as well as fresh sausage rolls and mince pies. This year there will definitely be a Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf on offer for breakfast on the big day itself. Filling the house with scents of Christmas spice, as it is sliced and toasted.

FF Spiced Christmas Fruit Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf delicious toasted for breakfast.

Packed full of dried fruits including dates, cherries and cranberries, in a brioche style loaf. The added milk, eggs and butter used in a Brioche give it a wonderfully soft crumb. Perfect for eating sliced as is, or toasted and slathered in butter, this loaf really does smell and taste of Christmas.

FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf egg wash gives the bronzed, glossy top when baked.

Creating a flavour packed sweet bread loaf

Using the best Medjool Dates from The Medjool Date Company, certainly enhances the taste of this loaf. While sweeter than my Spiced Fruit Loaf, it does not hold back on the Christmas spices of Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg and Allspice. Resulting in the most amazing aroma, filling the kitchen and then the house, as this beautifully bronzed loaf bakes.

FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf perfect with a cup of tea mid afternoon.

Baked in the British Bakeware, 3lb Farmhouse Loaf Tin, this fruited bread never sticks. The deep sides of the tin ensure the dough is supported as it rises. Resulting in an evely risen loaf, without a muffin top. The advantage being, a great shaped loaf that is easy to slice and the slices fit in the toaster. Without exception, this loaf tin is my most used and treasured piece of kitchen bakeware.

Recipe: Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

2 Large Free Range Eggs

Approx 320mls Whole Milk – to make volume to 350mls when added to eggs

1tsp Caster Sugar

7g Easy Bake Dried Yeast – I use Allinson in the green container/sachets

500g/1lb 2oz Strong White Flour

50g/2oz Unsalted Butter – at room temperature and cut into cubes plus extra for greasing the loaf tin

7g Salt – I use Maldon

1tsp Vanilla Bean Paste – I use Nielsen-Massey

2tsp Ground Cinnamon

1tsp Ground Ginger

1tsp Freshly Grated Nutmeg

1/2tsp Ground Allspice

100g/4oz Medjool Dates – I like The Medjool Date Co.

100g/4oz Dried Cranberries

50g/2oz Glacé Cherries

1 Egg whisked with a teaspoon of water for the egg wash

Method:

A stand mixer was used to make and knead the dough for this loaf. You may choose to make this by hand, however, the dough is incredibly sticky. A mixer is recommended.

Making the Christmas spiced fruit dough

  • First of all, measure 320mls of milk into a microwaveable jug. Zap on full power for 20 seconds. Stir and check the temperature, it should be the same as body temperature.
  • Into the slightly warmed (not fridge cold) milk add 2 whole eggs. The volume should be 350mls. Tip away any small excess of milk.
  • Pour the milk and eggs into the large bowl of a stand mixer.
  • Next add the sugar and yeast. Stir with a sooon to break up the eggs and mix the ingredients.
  • Now add the flour, on top of the liquid ingredients. This forms a barrier so that the yeast does not come into direct contact with the next addition, salt.
  • Add the salt and cubes of butter.
  • Fit a dough hook to the stand mixer and mix on a slow speed for 10 minutes.
  • While the dough is mixing prepare the fruit; remove stones from the dates and cut in half, cut each half into four pieces. Next cut each glacé cherry into quarters. Place the cranberries, cherries and dates in a bowl together.
  • After 10 minutes of mixing, stop the mixer and lift the dough hook. Remove a small piece of dough and stretch it. The dough is properly kneaded when it can stretch, without tearing, thinly enough to see light through it. This is called the windowpane test. If the dough tears, lower the dough hook and continue mixing for a further 2 minutes, after which test it again.

Adding fruit and spices to the dough

  • Once the dough passes the windowpane test, add the fruit and spices.
  • Lower the dough hook and mix again on low speed for a further 2 minutes.
  • After the fruit is incorporated stop the mixer and lift the dough hook.
  • Use clean fingers to scrape the dough from the hook and place it in the bowl.
FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
The prepared fruit and dough ready for it’s first prove.
  • Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and place it somewhere warm and away from draughts.
  • Now leave the dough to double in size.
  • NOTE: The presence of spices will slow down the action of the yeast. Therefore, the dough may take longer, up to 2 hours or more, to double in size.

Shaping the dough and proving for a second time

  • While the dough is proving thoroughly grease a 3lb deep farmhouse loaf tin with butter.
  • When the dough has at least doubled in size, scrape it out on to a lightly floured surface.
  • Press the dough into a rough rectangular shape. Now fold the bottom third up and then fold the top third down, so that it slightly overlaps the previous fold.
  • Finally, tuck either end under, so that you have an oval-ish shape. Place the shaped dough into the buttered loaf tin. Cover with the same tea towel as before and leave, as before until doubled in size.
  • While the dough is proving preheat the oven to 220/220 fan, gas mark 8.
  • Once the dough has doubled or even trebled in size, remove the tea towel. Using a pastry brush lightly brush over the egg wash.

Baking the Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf

FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf ready for the oven.
  • Now place the loaf carefully into the centre of the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes before reducing the oven heat to 220C/200C fan, gas mark 7.
  • Continue baking for a further 20 minutes and then remove the loaf from the oven.
  • Turn the loaf out on to a cooling rack. Rap the base of the loaf with your knuckle. The bread is baked if the rapping produces a hollow sound. If not, place the loaf, on its side back in the oven and check every 5 minutes until it is fully baked.
FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf fresh from the oven.

Allow the Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf to fully cool before slicing.

This fruited loaf will last for 3 days in a proper bread bin. Serve sliced, as is, or slice and toast for a delicious, fruit and spice filled breakfast.

If you have enjoyed this recipe for Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf you may also like these:

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies 

FF Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

Snowy Black Forest Roulade 

FF Spiced Christmas Fruit Loaf
Snowy Black Forest Roulade – with GLUTEN FREE option.

Peppermint Candy Cane Topped Brownies

FF Spiced Christmas Fruit Loaf
Peppermint Candy Cane Topped Brownies

 

Since you are setting the stand mixer up to make this fruited loaf, why not double up the ingredients and make two loaves? Sharing is inherently part of Christmas. I can think of no better reason, than to give one loaf away. Surely anyone would be happy to receive the gift of a freshly baked, Christmas Spiced Fruit Loaf!

Whatever you are making, baking and creating in your kitchens, have fun and remember food always tastes better when it’s shared.

Sammie xx

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

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Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies

Ok, please don’t hate me? I know it’s only October and yes I am posting a recipe for mince pies. Just hear me out for a sec please? Because these Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies are totally, out of this world amazing and it would be completely unfair for me to have waited any longer to share these with you.

Phew! I said it.

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies can you stop at one? www.feastingisfun.com
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies can you stop at one? www.feastingisfun.com

 

Just look at them. They are so cute and little and perfectly bite size. They’ve even got a dusting of snow.

Tell me you’re not interested now – thought so!!

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies mouthfuls of ultimate deliciousness www.feastingisfun.com
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies mouthfuls of ultimate deliciousness www.feastingisfun.com

The easiest pastry ever – Cream Cheese Pastry:

Who would have thought of putting Cream Cheese in pastry??? Yet, this recipe is based on a Pampered Chef recipe I jotted down years ago at one of their parties. They (the Pampered Chef’s) are masters of quick, delicious, recipes and whilst their cooking and bakeware may be a little on the pricey side, it lasts forever. This isn’t a sponsored post, I genuinely love their stuff.

Anyway, back to the pastry. I first saw this made and demonstarted at a Pampered Chef Party (if you host one you get great discounts – just saying!). The Cream Cheese Pastry was used to make some mini Pecan Pies and delicious they were too.

With me being me, I like to fiddle around with recipes. Because the pastry has a subtle, yet beautiful tang to it, I was sure that it would pair beautifully with sweet mincemeat. Resulting in these Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies.

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies so beautiful, easy and delicious www.feastingisfun.com
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies so beautiful, easy and delicious www.feastingisfun.com

 

Making a recipe work

With recipes I tend to be a bit of a rebel. If someone tells me something isn’t going to work, I want to know why and then try to figure out a way to make it work.

It was heavily stressed, during the cooking demonstration, that this pastry could not be rolled out. Well I just had to take that as a challenge and prove them wrong. And so I did.

The Cream Cheese Pastry is unbelivably soft, which is why it produces such a tender crumb. Yet, if you chill it for long enough and work quickly and methodically with it, then my lovelies, you sure can roll it out. This little tip transforms a one recipe pastry into a whole new realm of possibilities, including my Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies!

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies perfect for sharing www.feastingisfun.com
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies perfect for sharing www.feastingisfun.com

 

Since I haven’t ever made anything bigger than a regular sized mince pie, using this pastry, I am doubtful it woud have the strength to hold together for a large tart. But I am willing to be corrected. And now I’ve written that, I may have set myself a challenge!!!

Aside from the deliciousness that this pastry brings to the mince pies, it is so easy to make. No mixer, food processor, just a bowl and a fork – really it’s that simple. Here I’ll show you how.

Recipe : Makes 36 mini Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies (approx 18 regular sized ones)

225g/8oz Very Soft Unsalted Butter

200g/7oz Cream Cheese – I used Philadelphia I really do think that it is the best cream cheese to use in this recipe

275g/10oz Plain White Flour

Sweet Mincement – I use Waitrose 

Jam any flavour

Method :

Making the Cream Cheese Pastry

Add the butter and cream cheese to the flour in a large bowl.
Add the butter and cream cheese to the flour in a large bowl.
Using a fork gently mix the 3 ingredients together to form a dough.
Using a fork gently mix the 3 ingredients together to form a dough.
Form the pastry dough into a disc, wrap tightly in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Form the pastry dough into a disc, wrap tightly in cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.

Keep chilled and make your tart cases

A good tip, as this dough warms up very easily, is to have everything you need to make the pies, ready before you start rolling the dough.

Also preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan.

On a well floured surface, break off 2/3 of the dough and roll out to 1/2cm.
On a well floured surface, break off 2/3 of the dough and roll out to 1/2cm.
Ensure you have plenty of flour, cutters and a palette knife handy.
Ensure you have plenty of flour, cutters and a palette knife handy.

 

Due to the high fat content I never grease my tin. Feel free to do so if you are unsure of it’s non stick ability.

Line your tin with pastry cups.
Line your tin with pastry cups.

 

Gather up the pastry and re-roll if needed to cut all of your pie bases out. Make sure you have plenty of flour on the work top, otherwise this pastry will stick.

If the pastry does start to get too sticky, wrap up in cling film and pop back in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Adding the filling

Fill your pastry cups with mincemeat or alternatively jam.
Fill your pastry cups with mincemeat or alternatively jam.

 

Important: do not overfill your pastry cups, you will literally just end up with a heated mess.

I used a scant 1/2 teaspoon of filling in each of my mini pies.

You can see the 2 vertical lines on the left are filled with blackberry jam – youngest daughter not keen on mince pies!

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies - use a cutter that just fits the top of your pies.
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies – use a cutter that just fits the top of your pies.

 

Use the reserved third of pastry for rolling out the lids.

Top each pie with a cutout pastry shape. I used stars for mince pies and mini flowers for jam pies.

Sprinkle a little demerera sugar on the star topped mince pies for added sparkle.

Time to bake

Place into a preheated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes, until puffed and golden.

As soon as they are baked, remove from the oven and immediately remove the pies from the tin and place on a cooling rack. Be careful the filling is extremely hot.

 

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies tempting, tasty, treats www.feastingisfun.com
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies tempting, tasty, treats www.feastingisfun.com

These Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies are delicious warm just as they are, or drizzled with cream, or a scoop of vanilla ice cream……

They can be kept at room temperature for 3 days in an airtight container, or frozen, once cold for one month. Perfect to make before Christmas and stash in the deep freeze.

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies keep a close eye on these, they always disappear too quickly! www.feastingisfun.com
Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies keep a close eye on these, they always disappear too quickly! www.feastingisfun.com

 

Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies are a revelation on your taste buds.

If you have enjoyed this recipe recipe for Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies you may also like these:

Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies 

FF Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies
Chocolate Christmas Pudding Cookies

Snowy Black Forest Roulade 

FF Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies
Snowy Black Forest Roulade – with a gluten free option.

Peppermint Candy Cane Topped Brownies 

FF Cream Cheese Pastry Mince Pies
Peppermint Candy Cane Topped Brownies

While Christmas is first and foremost about celebrating the birth of Jesus, it is also a time for meeting up with friends and family. Almost every shelf in the shops are laden with edible Christmas treats and they do have a place. Yet making and baking homemade goodies is also fun too. Above all, homemade treats are made with love, something that cannot be bought. And they taste a million times better than their shop bought counterparts!

Sammie x

No part of this post may be reproduced or duplicated without the written permission of the owner. Please see my Disclosure Policy.

 

 

 

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