The rest of the days were spent with family. Reminding each other of the stories that we grew up listening to. We spoke of years gone past and our fondest childhood memories, the things that got us in trouble. My father told us his stories, that are endless and filled so vividly with detail. There were no gifts to clutter our lives, but each other's company to fill in the gaps. And for the first time in many years, we didn't overdo anything at all. And that felt like the right way to do it, and the best way to start a new year. On New Year's Eve, we danced until our feet could no longer.
I'll bake another of these wreaths (bolo rainha) in time for the 6th of January, or King's day. Here is the recipe for a pillowy wreath scented with aniseed and cinnamon.
Wishing you peace, happiness and the best of everything good in 2015! May it be a truly wonderful year.
400g plain unbleached flour
150g warm milk
10g fresh bakers yeast
2 large eggs
1/2 tspn ground cinnamon
1/4 tspn ground aniseed
2 tbspn Port
30g candied orange peel
Roughly chop hazlenuts and orange peel. Place in a bowl, along with the sultanas and soak with Port. Set aside.
Warm milk and sugar until it reaches about 37 deg C. In a large bowl mix together all the ingredients except the macerated fruit and nuts. Knead for 8 minutes on medium speed, until the dough no longer sticks to the sides. If it is too sticky, add an extra spoon of flour. Not much more though, as it is meant to be quite soft.
Oil a large bowl and place kneaded dough. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place, for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size. After the dough has risen, turn onto oiled surface and gently fold in the mixed fruit. Shape into a ring. Lightly oil a baking tray and place dough ring. Allow to rise for a second time.
Preheat oven to 220 degs C. Brush with egg yolk and bake for 35 minutes at 170 degs C until golden brown.
I had some pumpkin jam in the fridge, so swirled a few good heaped spoons into the dough together with the fruits. So feel free to make it your own.