Santa Lucia Crown
Makes 1 crown.
1/2 cup warm water (100 to 110oF)
1 envelope FLEISCHMANN’S Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup warm milk (100 to 110oF)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon SPICE ISLANDS Saffron Powder
4-1/4 to 4-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Powdered Sugar Glaze, optional (recipe follows)
Red and green candied cherry halves, optional
6 candles, optional
Place 1/4 cup warm water in large warm bowl. Sprinkle in yeast; stir until dissolved. Add remaining water, warm milk, sugar, butter, salt, saffron, and 1 1/2 cups flour; blend well. Stir in 2 eggs and enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down. Remove dough to lightly floured surface; reserve 1/3 of dough for top of crown. Divide remaining dough into 3 equal pieces; roll each to 25-inch rope. Braid ropes. Place braid on greased baking sheet. Form braid into circle; pinch ends together to seal. To shape top of crown, divide reserved dough into 3 equal pieces; roll each to 16-inch rope. Braid ropes. Place braid on separate greased baking sheet. Form braid into circle; pinch ends together to seal. Cover braids; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Lightly beat remaining egg; brush on braids. Bake at 375oF for 15 minutes or until done (small braid) and 25 minutes or until done (large braid), covering large braid with foil during last 10 minutes to prevent excess browning. Remove braids from baking sheets; let cool on wire racks.
To decorate, make 6 holes for candles in small braid. Place small braid on top of large braid. If desired, drizzle with Powdered Sugar Glaze and garnish with candied cherry halves. Insert candles in prepared holes.
Powdered Sugar Glaze: In small bowl, combine 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted; 4 to 5 teaspoons milk; and 1/2 teaspoon SPICE ISLANDS Pure Vanilla Extract. Stir until smooth.
Serving size: 1 slice (1/20 of recipe)
calories 159; total fat 4g; saturated fat 2g;
cholesterol 39mg; sodium 154mg; total carbohydrate 27g; dietary fiber 1g; protein 4g.