Danish Julekage
Julekage is a delicious enriched bread which contains dried and glacé fruits. It is served over the Christmas period with hot, spiced punch.
Makes: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • 450 g (16 oz) white bread flour
  • 200 g (7 oz) dried and glacé fruits, chopped (See Notes)
  • 100 g (3½ fl oz) lukewarm milk
  • 75 g (3 oz) melted butter
  • 50 g (2 oz) soft brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • The seeds from 15 green cardamom pods
  • Grated zest of ½ lemon
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • ½ tsp vanilla flavouring
For the glaze
  • 1 egg white
  • 2 tbsp water
For the topping
  • Pecans, whole almonds, flaked almonds, or walnuts.
  • 1 tbsp caster (superfine) sugar
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Add the yeast to the milk, stir and leave for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the salt to the flour in a large bowl and mix well.
  3. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast/milk and the butter. Using a spoon slowly incorporate flour into the liquid to create a thick batter. Only mix in enough flour to make the batter.
  4. Flick flour from the side of the bowl to lightly cover the batter. Cover the bowl with a cloth and leave in a warm place for 15 minutes.
  5. Crush the cardamom seeds and add to the flour together with the lemon zest, sugar, vanilla flavouring and eggs. Mix to a smooth dough, adding a little extra milk if necessary.
  6. Knead for 10 minutes.
  7. Place the dough in a lightly-greased bowl, cover and put in a warm place to allow the dough to double in size.
  8. Turn the dough out onto a surface and knock it back. While the dough is flat add about half the dried and glacé fruits onto the dough. Fold the dough into thirds.
  9. Turn through a quarter turn and press the dough out again. Add the remaining fruit and fold into thirds as before.
  10. Knead gently for 2 minutes then leave the dough to rest for 5 minutes.
  11. Press the dough out into a rectangle and roll up.
  12. Either place the dough on a lightly-greased baking tray or in a loaf tin. Place in a large plastic bag and put in a warm place until the dough has just about doubled in size.
  13. Slash the loaf down the centre and make a couple of diagonal gashes too to allow the loaf to "bloom".
  14. Brush with the glaze. Sprinkle on some nuts and brush again with the glaze.
  15. Sprinkle on the caster sugar and cinnamon. Bake at 160°C/320°F fan oven, 180°C/360°F conventional oven for 40-45 minutes.
  16. Allow to cool before slicing.
Notes
You can use whatever dried and glacé fruits you have around. Apricots, pineapple, cherries, dates, sultanas, even crystallised ginger! Just chop them coarsely before adding to the dough.

Watch the bread carefully during the last 15 minutes of baking. If it looks like it is going too dark simply cover it with some foil and carry on baking.