'Festive' is the perfect word used to describe this Christmastime confection from Catherine Emerson of Arlington, Washington. “I am going to try it next with apricots and cinnamon or some of my home canned plums!”
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm fat-free milk (110° to 115°)
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2/3 cup apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
- 4 cups thinly sliced peeled tart apples
- 2/3 cup dried cranberries
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 4 teaspoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add the sugar, butter, egg, salt and 3 cups flour. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning once to coat the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- In a large saucepan, combine the sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and cider. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Stir in apples; cook 5-10 minutes longer or until crisp-tender. Remove from the heat; stir in cranberries. Cool to room temperature.
- Punch dough down; roll into a 15-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Place on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Spread filling lengthwise down center of dough. On each long side, cut 1-in.-wide strips 3 in. into center. Fold strips at an angle across filling; seal ends. Cover and let rise until doubled.
- Beat egg and water; brush over dough. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. Combine confectioners' sugar, water and extract; drizzle over loaf. Sprinkle with cranberries and almonds. Yield: 1 loaf (24 slices).
Originally published as Festive Fruit Ladder in Light & Tasty December/January 2008, p50
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