When the holidays come around, there’s nothing quite like waking up to festive breakfast foods like this warm sweet Easter bread ring that’s a favorite for Mother’s Day (though you could certainly break out this recipe for fall holidays too). A sweet dough combined with rich, fiber-filled Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs are twisted together to form a deliciously decadent Danish pastry. While this Easter bread ring recipe uses instant yeast, regular yeast can be substituted. Simply allow dough to rise until doubled in size (2-4 hours). Store cooked pastry in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
In a small bowl, whisk together yeast and warm milk. Set aside until yeast mixture begins to form a creamy foam, about 5 minutes.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add yeast mixture, melted butter, and egg. Knead until dough comes together in a ball and no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. Transfer dough to a greased bowl and cover with a clean damp towel. Set aside to rise for 20 minutes.
Make the Fig Filling
1. Process dried figs in food processor until finely chopped. Add softened butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon in the food processor. Pulse until mixture forms a paste.
Assemble and Bake
Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll dough out into a large rectangle, approximately 14×9 inches. Spread fig paste over dough. Beginning at the long edge, tightly roll up the dough as you would if you were making cinnamon rolls.
Leaving a 1-inch gap from the top, slice rolled dough in half lengthwise. Carefully turn cut dough centers so that fig layers are facing upwards.
Twist the left strand of dough over the right strand, then continue until the entire dough has been twisted together. Shape twisted strand into a circle, pressing ends together. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Cover with damp towel to rise again while oven is preheating. Preheat oven to 375°F. Whisk together egg and water. Brush danish with egg wash.
Bake danish for 30-35 minutes.
Make Cream Cheese Glaze
Whisk together cream cheese, softened butter, vanilla, and powdered sugar until smooth. Drizzle over danish, if desired, or simply sprinkle with sifted powdered sugar.
If you’ve wondered how to make babka, this version of the popular bread with a ribbon of chocolate and Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs running through it is a great place to start. Babka sometimes has one slice of the bread without any filling, but in our book every bite should have filling! By reserving the extra 2 tablespoons of the chocolate fig spread, you can ensure that flavorful swirl is in every slice. Bake a loaf of this babka recipe to serve at breakfast as toasted or French toast. You can even serve it for lunch as a peanut butter jelly sandwich—but make sure to wait and slice the bread once it’s completely cool, otherwise it will be gummy inside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar, and warm milk. Let stand for 5 to 7 minutes until mixture is foamy.
Add remaining sugar, egg yolks, and egg. Whisk together until well incorporated.
In a large bowl, whisk together flour and salt. Add half of flour mixture to mixing bowl. Attach dough hook to stand mixer and mix on low speed until dough resembles a shaggy mess, about 2 minutes. With the mixer running, add softened butter one tablespoon at a time. Add remaining flour mixture and continue to knead at medium speed until dough is smooth and no longer sticks to the sides of the mixing bowl, about 4 minutes.
Transfer dough to a greased large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let dough rest at room temperature for 70 to 90 minutes, until dough has doubled in volume.
Punch down risen dough. Recover with plastic wrap and let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (up to 4 hours), until dough is cold.
Make the Chocolate Fig Filling
Place stemmed figs and water in a small heavy-bottomed saucepot. Set over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow figs to soften, about 10 to 15 minutes. Drain figs and discard water.
In the bowl of a food processor, combine warm figs, chocolate, cocoa powder, powdered sugar, butter, vanilla, and salt. Process until mixture resembles jam. Scrape down bowl as necessary to ensure thorough mixing. Allow mixture to cool slightly before adding egg whites. Pulse 2 to 3 times until egg whites are just incorporated. Transfer to an airtight container and keep chilled in the fridge until assembly.
Working on a lightly floured surface, roll chilled dough to an 18x14-inch rectangle. Reserve about 2 tablespoons of chocolate fig filling. Spread remaining filling over dough, leaving a ½-inch border around the edges, so that it doesn’t ooze out. Beginning at the longer end, roll dough into a tight cylinder. Pinch the seams closed.
With dough seam side up, spread the reserved filling over the seam. Bring one end of dough over to the other end and then pinch the ends together, thus sandwiching the filling, to create a log. You’ll see some filling on the outside.
Gently twist the log, left hand going one way and right hand going the other, until it resembles a figure eight with swirls of filling peeking through. Place twisted roll in a greased 9x4-inch loaf pan. Gently press dough to distribute it to the edges of the pan. Loosely cover with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at room temperature until dough is level with the lip of the loaf pan, about 70 minutes.
Whisk together egg, water, and salt until well combined.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly brush the top of the risen dough with egg wash. Bake for 45-50 minutes, rotating loaf midway through baking. Bake until the top of the bread is golden brown and the internal temperature of bread registers at least 190°F. Allow bread to cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan and allow it to cool to room temperature on a wire rack, about 1 hour. Allow bread to completely cool before slicing with a serrated knife.