A Christmas feast only comes around once a year, which means what you’re cooking for the big day is probably an assortment of nostalgic and storied dishes—the kinds of recipes that are passed down from generation to generation, and conjure images of roasted chestnuts and crackling fireplaces. Or maybe it’s not as Norman Rockwell, and that’s totally okay. Whatever your holiday tradition looks like, perhaps you’re looking to add a few new dishes to the table this year.
Christmas Feasts & Treats, $20.99 on Amazon
Enter “Christmas Feasts & Treats,” a new cookbook by Donna Hay, a cookbook author and lifestyle expert often equated to Australia’s answer to Martha Stewart. Her winter-inspired cookbook brims with dishes often found on the Christmas table—from glazed ham to mince pies and candy canes—along with a slew of new feasts and treats you’ll want to add to your Christmas dinner rolodex. She provides ideas for hand-held appetizers (think onion, brie, and rosemary tarts), vegetarian mains (whole roasted cauliflower in white wine and garlic butter), and sweets that are poised to impress (gingerbread, sherry, and caramel trifle).
Related Reading: Christmas Cookie HQ: The Ultimate Guide to Holiday Cookie Baking
For anyone looking for a crowd-pleasing dish, you’ll want to immediately flip to Donna’s recipe for a potato and herb bread wreath. This pull-apart bread is crafted the same way you’d make monkey bread: hunks of dough rolled into tight balls, tossed in herbs, and stacked one on top of each other like bricks. The whole thing emerges from the oven hot and steaming, ready to be picked apart by hungry fingers. Simply eat as is or dip in butter. You won’t be surprised when everybody asks for the recipe for next year’s holiday feast.
Souffle White Porcelain Dish, $19.99 on Amazon
Recipe excerpted with permission from “Christmas Feasts & Treats” by Donna Hay, published by HarperCollins Publishers.
Potato and Herb Bread Wreath
A sprig or two of fresh bay leaves or rosemary, pushed into the baked bread, makes a lovely addition to the wreath. Place it in the centre of the table for easy sharing and it will double as a festive centrepiece. And it’s important the ramekin is at least 8cm tall, as the dough will continue to rise as it bakes.
Potato and Herb Bread Wreath
- 2.2lb rock salt
- 3.3lb sebago (starchy) potatoes
- 12.7fl oz milk
- 2.6oz unsalted butter, chopped
- 1½ tablespoons caster (superfine) sugar
- 3 teaspoons dry yeast
- 1.5lb plain (all-purpose) flour
- ½ teaspoon sea salt flakes
- 3 eggs
- 2.5 oz flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons rosemary leaves, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons thyme leaves
- 2.7fl oz extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 220°C (425°F). Place the rock salt on a baking tray and top with the potatoes. Prick the potatoes all over with a metal skewer and roast for 1 hour or until soft. Allow to cool slightly. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop the flesh into a medium bowl, discarding the skins, and set aside.
- While the potato is cooling, place half the milk in a small saucepan over high heat and bring to just below the boil. Remove from the heat, add the butter and sugar and stir until the butter is melted. Add the yeast and the remaining milk and stir to combine. Set aside in a warm place for 5 minutes or until the surface is foamy.
- Place the flour, sea salt, eggs and the yeast mixture in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook and beat for 5 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until doubled in size.
- Sprinkle the dough with the potato and gently knead to combine. Divide the dough into roughly 34 x 1-tablespoon portions and roll into balls.
- Line a 24cm round cake tin with non-stick baking paper, allowing 3cm of the paper to sit above the edge. Lightly grease an 8cm-tall x 8cm-wide ovenproof ramekin+ and position it in the centre of the tin. Place the parsley, rosemary, thyme and oil in a small bowl and mix to combine. Roll the dough balls in the herb mixture and place in the tin. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place for 30 minutes or until risen.
- Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F). Bake the bread for 25 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. While still warm, remove the ramekin and allow the bread to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, before turning out and serving.
Header image courtesy of Con Poulos.