Festive fruit bread

Light like a panettone and buttery like a brioche, this bread is wonderful and so Christmas-y. This Nici Wickes recipe is a bit different to the usual format, but trust us, as you’re buttering gorgeous, warm slices of Christmas fruit bread, you’ll forget the effort.

By Nici Wickes
  • 30 mins preparation
  • 45 mins cooking
  • 24 hrs marinating
  • Makes 2
  • Print


Christmas Eve
  • 1 1/4 cup high-grade flour
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup cranberries or goji berries
  • 1/2 cup brazil nuts, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup candied orange or ginger, or a mix
  • 1/2 cup pitted dates or figs, chopped
  • 1/4 cup rum or fruit juice, or a mix
Christmas Day
  • 1 1/2 cup high-grade flour
  • 100 gram butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup (packed) brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten


Christmas Eve
  • 1
    Mix together flour, yeast and water in a medium bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • 2
    In a separate bowl, mix together remaining Christmas Eve ingredients and set aside overnight, stirring occasionally.
Christmas Day
  • 3
    Combine the flour/yeast mixture with the Christmas Day ingredients above and knead in a mixer, with a dough hook attached, until it becomes a soft, sticky dough – about 7-10 minutes. Divide in half and put each bit of dough into floured bowls. Cover and leave in a warm place for 1½-2 hours, until they have risen.
  • 4
    Gently plop your dough pieces onto a well-floured surface and carefully pat each into a 10-15cm rectangle.
  • 5
    Spread the fruit over each, leaving a small border, then roll up from the long side. Turn it 90 degrees and brush the dough so it's free of flour as you roll it.
  • 6
    Line two loaf tins with baking paper and shape each bit of dough to fit into the tins. Press gently into each. Cover and leave to rise for 2 hours or until dough doesn't spring back immediately when gently pressed.
  • 7
    Preheat oven to 160°C fan-bake.
  • 8
    Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the tops are a deep golden brown and the bottoms sound hollow when tapped. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out. Slice warm or cool and eat with lots of butter!


• Use a plastic bag to loosely cover the dough as it rises. Doing so saves it sticking to a tea towel! • This cake is a great one to start on Christmas Eve, then bake on Christmas Day.

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