- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- BASIC SWEET DOUGH:
- 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, softened
- 2 cups warm milk (110° to 115°)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon mace
- 3 eggs, beaten
- 8 to 8-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 1 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- PECAN CREAM FILLING:
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1-1/4 cups confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup finely chopped pecans
- 2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 4 tablespoons milk
- 1-1/2 teaspoons butter, melted
- 1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
- Red and green candied cherries
- Dissolve yeast in warm water; set aside. In large bowl, combine sugar, butter, milk, salt and mace; mix well. Add eggs and yeast; mix well. Add 4 cups flour; beat well. Stir in vanilla and lemon juice and enough remaining flour to form soft dough. Turn out onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Add more flour if necessary. Shape into ball; place in a greased bowl. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours.
- For filling, cream butter, sugar and flour. Beat in egg yolk. Add pecans. Cover; set aside.
- When dough has risen, punch down. Roll one-third of dough into 15-in. x 13-in. rectangle. (Using sharp knife and ruler, trim to make triangle 15 in. tall and 13 in. wide at base.) From trimmings, cut tow 3-in. high tree trunks. Place large triangle on lightly greased 17-in. x 14-in. baking sheet with no sides. Dough will shrink, so form on pan with fingers back to original shape. Center one tree trunk at base of triangle; pinch together where trunk joins tree. Fold top 2 in. of triangle under. Gently spread filling on triangle and trunk to within 1 in. of edges.
- Place second trunk over filling on trunk already attached to tree; inch outside edges to seal. Roll remaining dough into 15-in. square. With doughnut cutter, cut 25 rounds. With star-shaped cutter, cut one star. Arrange 6 dough rounds, overlapping slightly, across tree base. Use 5 rounds to make second row. Make third row of 5 rounds, fourth of 4 fifth of 3 and top row of 2. Place star on top. Cover; let rise until doubled, about 45-60 ;minutes. Bake at 375° for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Combine glaze ingredients; spread over tree. Top dough rounds with candied cherries.
- Note: This recipe also can be used to make wreaths or two smaller trees. Yield: about 24 servings.
Originally published as Christmas Tree Bread in Country December/January 1991, p53
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