- 2 scant tablespoons or 2 (1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
- 1 cup warm milk (about 110 degrees)
- 1/2 cup soft butter
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
- 2 large eggs, beaten
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon mace
- 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 cups unbleached flour
- 1 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
- 2 cups diced mixed candied fruits
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 7 to 9 tablespoons heavy cream
In a large bowl, stir yeast into water to soften. Add milk, butter, sugar, lemon rind, eggs, salt, mace, and 2 cups flour. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes.
Gradually add flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.
Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour a little at a time, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Turn dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide in half. Using a rolling pin, roll half of the dough into a 22 by 9-inch rectangle. Cover and let rest 5 minutes on the work surface.
Cut the dough into three 22-inch long strips.
Mix the nuts and candied fruit. Fill the center of each strip with 1/2 cup of the nut and fruit mixture. Bring edges together and pinch to seal forming three 22-inch-long strands.
Lay the strands side-by-side on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Turn the baking sheet so the strands are facing lengthwise away from you. Starting in the center of the strands, place the right strand over the middle strand (the right strand has now become the middle strand), then the left strand over the middle, the right over the middle, left over the middle, etc. Continue this process until the strands are too short to braid. Do not pinch the end together.
To braid the other end of the loaf, turn the baking sheet around so that the unbraided portion is facing you. Place the middle strand over the right strand, then middle strand over the left, middle over the right, middle over the left, etc., until the ends are too short to braid. Join the ends of the braid to form a wreath, and pinch to seal. Repeat with the other half of the dough. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
About 10 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the loaf reaches 190 degrees.
Immediately remove bread from baking sheet and cool on a rack for 20 minutes.
Combine powdered sugar and cream. Mixture should be the consistency of honey (if it isn't, adjust by adding more cream to thin it or powdered sugar to thicken it). Drizzle over the top of each wreath.