Santa Lucia Crown

Santa Lucia Crown

 1/2           cup  warm water (105º to 115ºF)

1 package Fleischmann’s® Active Dry Yeast
1/2 cup warm milk (105º to 115ºF)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine – softened
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon saffron (powdered)
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (4 1/4 to 4 3/4 cups)
3 eggs
Powdered Sugar Frosting – optional (recipe follows)
Red and green candied cherries (halved) – optional
6 candles – optional

                    POWDERED SUGAR FROSTING

1 cup powdered sugar – sifted
4 teaspoons milk (4 to 5 teaspoons)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

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 both braids; 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 three 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 three 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; 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); cover large braid with foil during last 10 minutes to prevent excess browning. Remove braids from baking sheets; cool on wire racks. Makes 1 crown.
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To Decorate Crown:
Make 6 holes for candles in small braid. Place small braid on top of large braid. If desired, drizzle with Powdered Sugar Frosting and garnish with red and green candied cherry halves. Insert candles in prepared holes.

Powdered Sugar Frosting: In small bowl, combine 1 cup powdered sugar, sifted, 4 to 5 teaspoons milk and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir until smooth.

Yield:
“1 loaf”