Adapted from Sunset Magazine, December 1978
Makes about 12 servings
1 packet active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 110° F)
1/2 cup warm milk (about 110° F)
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon cardamom powder
2 flax seed eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
3 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
For the Cranberry-Almond Filling:
6 tablespoons butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup finely chopped blanched almonds
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup dried cranberries or cherries
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon almond extract
For the Sugar Glaze:
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon cardamom powder
1 tablespoons plus 3/4 teaspoons water
1 cup powdered sugar
In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water and let it foam up for a minute or two. Blend in the milk, sugar, butter, cardamom, flax and lemon peel. Beat in two cups of the flour, one cup at a time. Beat for 2 minutes. Add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until you have a soft, workable dough. You might not use all the flour.
Dump dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead until smooth, about 5 to 10 minutes, adding more flour if needed to prevent sticking. Place in a lightly oiled mixing bowl large enough to accommodate dough when doubled in size. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours). Meanwhile, prepare Cranberry-Almond Filling.
In a small bowl, combine dried fruit with remaining Filling ingredients. Cover and refrigerate.
When dough has risen and doubled in size, punch down and turn out onto a lightly floured board, kneading just enough to release air bubbles. Roll into a 9- by 30-inch rectangle. Crumble filling over dough to within 1 inch of edges. Starting along a long side, tightly roll up dough, pinching edge against loaf to seal. With a sharp knife, cut roll in half lengthwise, carefully turn cut sides up, and loosely twist ropes around each other, keeping cut sides up. (See photos below for these steps.)
Transfer to a greased and floured baking sheet and shape into a wreath, pinching ends together to seal. Let rise, uncovered, in a warm place until puffy, about 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Bake wreath until lightly browned, about 25 minutes. While wreath is baking, Prepare Sugar Glaze by stirring together powdered sugar, water, lemon juice and cardamom until smooth.
When wreath is done, transfer to a cooling rack with wide spatulas, and a helper if possible. Cool for a few minutes then drizzle glaze over warm wreath. Serve sliced with extra butter if you’re feeling decadent.
Wreath can be prepared up to 2 days ahead of time, cooled completely and wrapped tightly in foil. Store at room temperature. Re-heat at 350° for 10-15 minutes, then drizzle with glaze.