You can adapt this recipe really easily. You can use chocolate spread and chunks of chocolate or Biscoff spread or cinnamon butter. Once you know how to shape this bread you can make a simple white dough instead and use pesto, olive tapenade or harissa. You could also use puff pastry.
300g strong white flour
250g plain white flour
1 sachet of easy bake/instant yeast or 10-15g fresh yeast
10g fine sea salt
50g caster sugar
150ml whole milk
50g unsalted butter
200g chestnut puree
75g sugar (I use soft brown)
100g whole chestnuts, chopped finely
To make the dough:
Heat the milk and butter in a small pan until the butter has melted, add in the tepid water and check with a clean finger that the liquid isn’t too hot. If it’s too hot it will kill the yeast, so leave it to cool for a while.
Measure the flours, salt, sugar and yeast (keeping the salt and yeast separate as the salt will kill the yeast) into a large bowl, pour in the liquids and add the egg.
Using a clawed hand mix the ingredients together until they come together in a shaggy mass. If the mixture has any dry bits of flour add a splash more water. You want it to feel on the sticky side rather than the dry side. Cover with clingfilm, a large plastic bag or a shower cap and leave to stand for ten minutes. Use the stretch and fold method to develop the dough. Cover and leave to rise until it has doubled in size (about an hour in a warm kitchen).
Make a template for the tree using 2 pieces of A4 paper. You will use one as a guide to roll out the dough. With the 2nd, measure halfway across the top of the short edge. Mark a diagonal line from the middle of the paper to a bottom corner and repeat on the other side. Cut out the triangle.
When the dough is ready to shape, cut it into two even pieces. Roll each piece out to the same size as an A4 page. Place the template in the middle. Cut out the triangle shape. Take the remaining pieces and match them to shape them into another triangle.
Mix the chestnut puree with the sugar until well combined.Place one of the triangles on a piece of baking parchment. Spread one third of the chestnut puree mixture onto the tree. Place another triangle of dough on top. Spread another third of puree over. Repeat with another triangle and puree and then top with final triangle. Take a ruler and mark from the top point of the tree at an angle both sides so that there is a gap of 4cm between the two points at the base. Cut from this line to the outer edge of the triangle in sections of about 3cm on both sides of the tree, matching up the cuts to make branches.
Twist the cut sections so that you can see the filling. Allow the dough to prove.
When ready, bake at 200C, 390f, gas mark 6 for 25-35 minutes, the centre of the dough should reach 88C, 190f. Leave to cool completely.
Ready to learn more?
My online Christmas Breads course shows you how to make stollen, a mincemeat wreath, pear & blue cheese focaccia, cinnamon star and a savoury Christmas tree bread.
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