Here is one of our favorites for Christmas.
Allow plenty of time since this recipe is an all day prroject with all the rising.
3/4 cups raisins
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries, cherries, blueberries or mixed candied fruit
1/4 cup orange juice
1 pkg.(1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 - 115 degrees)
3/4 cup warm milk (110 - 115 degrees)
1/2 cup butter melted
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 TBSP grated orange peel
1TBSP grated lemon peel
1 tsp. salt
5-1/4 to 5-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped almonds
Soak raisins and fruit in orange juice; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add milk, butter, sugar, eggs, orange and lemon peel, salt, and 3 cups flour; beat until smooth. Add raisin mixture and almonds. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 - 8 minutes.
Place in greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled. Punch dough down; let rest for 10 minutes. Divide in half; roll each into a 10 X7 inch oval. Brush !/2 of one long side of dough with melted butter, then fold it over to within 1- in. of the opposite side; press edges lightly to seal. Place on a greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 1 hour. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 -30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack. Just before serving, dust with confectioners' sugar.
**If you don't eat it right away, then wrap the loaves in foil and store on counter.
Yields: 2 loaves
**Note: A tsp of rum or rum extract can be added with the mixed fruit for added flavor.
I use a ped-egg to grate the zest from the orange or lemon. It works great!