I entered this festive tea ring in our agricultural fair, and it won top honors. Every year, I make around 15 of the tasty "wreaths" to give as fresh-from-the-kitchen gifts.
- 1 cup chopped candied fruit
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 2/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 cup butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon grated orange peel
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1/3 cup sugar, divided
- 1-1/4 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup shortening
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 4-1/4 to 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Candied cherries, optional
- In a bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Cover and refrigerate. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast, 1/4 cup water and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1/4 cup warm water; let stand for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine remaining water and sugar; stir until dissolved. Add yeast mixture, eggs, shortening, salt and 3 cups flour; mix until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down; divide in half. Roll each portion into a 16-in. x 9-in. rectangle. Sprinkle filling over dough to within 1/2 in. of edge.
- Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side; pinch seams to seal. Place on greased baking sheets; pinch ends together to form a ring. With a scissors, cut from outside edge two-thirds of the way toward center of ring at 1-in. intervals. Separate strips lightly; twist to allow filling to show. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire racks for 20 minutes. For icing, combine the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and milk; drizzle over tea rings while warm. Decorate with cherries if desired. Yield: 2 tea rings.
Originally published as Fruited Swedish Tea Ring in Country Woman Christmas Annual 1998, p18
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