For the dough
200g white spelt flour
50g wholemeal spelt flour
½ heaped tsp salt (approx. 4g)
¼ tsp ground cardamom
10g fresh yeast (or 1½ tsp active dried or instant dried yeast: approx. 5g)
Two large handfuls dried fruit (chopped if it's something large such as apricots)
1/2 an egg
1tsp runny honey
handful of slivered almonds
100g icing sugar
Bring the milk to the boil and then add the butter to it so that it melts and brings the temperature back down. Allow it to cool further while you weigh out the flours, salt, sugar and cardamom and give the dry ingredients a quick stir with one hand to mix.
Making sure the milk is no hotter than around 35-38°C add it to the yeast, breaking the yeast up with your fingers so there are no lumps left.
Pour the milk/butter/yeast into the bowl and mix until you have a sticky, shaggy dough.
Leave in the bowl for 10 minutes. Wet the worktop and turn the dough out. Give it a quick 10-second knead then return it to the bowl and repeat twice i.e. leave for 10 minutes then knead for 10 seconds.
Leave the dough in the bowl, covered until it has doubled in size (this can take anywhere between an hour, and two and a half hours depending on the temperature of the room — check after an hour).
Meanwhile, soak the dried fruit in a little water and set aside, and beat the egg with the honey (you may need to warm the honey a little first).
Weigh out the butter, cinnamon and sugar for the filling and give them a good whip up with a fork or spoon so that the butter is really easy to spread over the dough, otherwise it will catch and tear the dough.
Dust the worktop with flour and take the dough out of the bowl. Using a rolling pin, gently roll it into a rectangle about 15cm high and 30cm long. Don’t make it any bigger than this or it will be too thin and it will be hard to spread the butter over it. As you roll it, treat it gently.
Spread the filling mixture evenly over the dough (a pallet knife or plastic scraper are particularly good for this) trying not to drag the dough as you go – the butter should be on the warm side so it spreads easily, but not melted. (If it’s melted it will simply be absorbed into the dough, rather than sitting on top of it.)
Drain the fruit as much as possible (wringing it out with your hand works best I find) and sprinkle that on top of the filling, pressing it down gently so it stays in place.
Roll up the dough from the long edge as tightly as you can then, using a dough cutter or sharp knife, cut the dough right down the middle, lengthwise. Twist the two pieces round each other and seal them at the end (use a little of the egg wash) making the join as neat and subtle as you can.
Put the dough on a piece of baking parchment on top of a chopping board and put the whole thing inside a bin bag, puffing it up to trap in some air, then tucking the end underneath.
Pre-heat the oven to 220° (200 fan)/ Gas Mark 6–7.
Leave to prove until the dough has risen by about half its size again (around 45 minutes to an hour, again at room temperature, checking after half an hour). The dough is ready when it springs back slightly but not fully when pressed gently with a floured or oiled finger.
Slide onto a hot baking sheet or baking stone to bake for around 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and glaze with the egg/honey and return for a further 10 minutes.
Weigh the icing sugar into a bowl and gradually add water until it is the consistency of double cream. Spoon into a piping bag.
Toast slivered almonds in a dry frying pan – keep an eye on them, they can burn very quickly.
When the wreath is baked, leave it to cool slightly on a wire rack before drizzling with the icing and sprinkling with the almonds. Leave to cool completely before wrapping or eating.