Celebrate Easter by baking this sweet, decadent Fruit-Studded Holiday Bread. Studded with currants, raisins, apricots and cranberries, this bread makes a perfect breakfast and a great way to spread love to family members, neighbors and friends. This sweet bread is also delicious year-round because who doesn’t love a bread filled with dried fruit?
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It all started with an e-mail.
My mother occasionally sends me articles and tidbits with stories she thinks I will enjoy. (And she’s usually pretty spot on because I read them all.)
Last spring, I received an e-mail from her that said, “Part of me… [A neighbor] would make this every Easter. When I would be at home, she would send me bread to bring back to Memphis.”
And she attached a link to a New York Times recipe for holiday bread.
Not going to lie: I was intrigued. I loved the idea of baking a specific bread for Easter, and after going back and forth about some of the ingredients, I decided to make the bread as it was, then go from there.
My first batch of these beauties turned out beautifully last Easter. My husband’s family was in town, and the consensus was clear: This recipe was a winner. (Unsurprisingly, it also makes REALLY GOOD French toast.)
The bread was great… but since I’m a tinker-er, I began playing with the recipe for fun, adding in different spices while taking out the ones I liked less.
I baked my adapted recipe as a “welcome to the neighborhood” present for some new neighbors last spring. I heard only good things about it from them.
And then I changed up a bit more, sharing the bread with more friends… and everyone was a fan.
The original recipe of this bread is solid… but I love the little tweaks I’ve added during the last year.
That’s what I present y’all with today: My rendition of this fantastic holiday bread.
Erin’s Recommended Tools/Products for Fruit-Studded Holiday Bread
- Essentials: Stand mixer.
- Get the look!: Gold dot dessert plate (Similar from 8 Oak Lane.) Threshold White Appetizer Plate with Gold Rim. Nonstick baking mat. Sheet pan.
I meaaaaaaan… how could you NOT love this bread? It takes some time and some love, but trust me when I say this is well-worth the trouble. As an added bonus, everyone you know who you share this bread with will just adore you.
Here’s how you can make your own:
Fruit-Studded Holiday Bread for Easter
- 1 cup milk (whole, skim, even almond works), at room temperature
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 1/2 cup golden raisins
- 1/4 cup sun-dried raisins
- 1/4 cup dried apricots , chopped
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons dark spiced rum
- 2 eggs + 3 egg yolks
- 12 tablespoons unsalted butter , melted and at room temperature (1 1/2 sticks)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons anise seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon zest
- 3/4 cup almond slivers , toasts
- 1 tablespoon heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons raw sugar
Make the sponge
- Pour the milk into a large bowl. Add the yeast, then let dissolve.
- Whisk in a cup unbleached all-purpose flour, then cover the bowl.
- Leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size and is very frothy. This should take about 30 minutes, though it has taken upwards of an hour for me, depending on the weather.
Make the bread
- In the microwave, melt the butter. When completely melted, set aside and let cool slightly.
- Toast the almonds in a nonstick skillet over high heat or in the oven. When sufficiently browned, but not burned, remove from the heat, and cool.
- Measure the currants, raisins, cranberries and apricots into a bowl.
- Cover the dried fruit with hot water, and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Drain the fruit, then return to its original bowl, and stir in the rum before setting aside.
- In another bowl, measure out and beat the 2 whole eggs and 2 yolks.
- Once the sponge is ready, pour the beaten eggs, melted butter and vanilla extract into the sponge mixture, and stir together. Fold in the rum-soaked fruit, then set the sponge and fruit mixture aside.
- In the large bowl of a stand mixer, measure 4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour, the sugar, salt, anise seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, orange and lemon zests, as well as the toasted slivered almonds. Whisk together.
- Pour the sponge mixture over the flour mixture and combine using the dough hook of the stand mixer. Start the mixer on a low speed, turning it up once the loose flour begins incorporating into the dough.
- When the dough comes together, allow the stand mixer to knead the dough for a few minutes before turning off the appliance and transferring the dough to a greased large bowl.
- Cover the bowl containing the dough with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until it has doubled in size. This should take around 45 minutes.
- Once the dough has doubled in size, punch the dough down and knead it lightly before cutting it in half and forming two loaves in whatever form you would like. (Round loaves are pretty straightforward and simple, but braided loafs, as pictured here, or even rectangular ones are beautiful!)
- Place the loaves side by side on a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Leave at least 4" between the two, as they will rise again.
- Cover the loaves with plastic wrap or with a damp kitchen towel, and let rise until doubled. This rise should take around 30 minutes.
- When the loaves have doubled in size, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- While the oven preheats, make the egg wash: Using the remaining egg yolk and the heavy whipping cream, beat the ingredients together with a fork.
- Brush the loaves generously with the egg wash, then sprinkle with the raw sugar.
- Transfer the leaves to the oven. Bake for 45 minutes or until the loaves are a dark, glossy brown.
- Once cooked through, transfer the loaves to a cooling rack and allow them to cool completely before enjoying.
Recipe NotesAdapted from this recipe from The New York Times.
Do you make a specific traditional dish for Easter?
Have you ever made Easter bread?
The photos and recipe for this Blizzard cocktail were originally published on April 18, 2014. The photographs, along with the text of this blog post, were updated on March 23, 2017.