1 x 375g packet Carême Butter Puff Pastry, defrosted
25g unsalted butter
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup raisins
½ cup dried apricots, chopped
½ cup dried white mulberries (we used the Nature’s Delight brand)
6 dates, pitted and chopped
4 tablespoons rum or brandy
Zest of one orange
3 large nectarines or peaches, stoned and sliced into wedges
½ cup slivered almonds, roasted in oven for 5 minutes
1 egg beaten for glazing
¼ icing sugar
2 teaspoons lime juice
In a medium-sized saucepan sauté the spices in the butter for 1 minute. Add to this the raisins, dried apricots, white mulberries, dates rum (or brandy) and 1 cup of water, set over medium heat. Stir and bring to a gentle simmer. Continue to cook the mixture, stirring frequently, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mince has reached a jammy consistency, about 10 minutes. Add orange zest and stir to combine. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool completely before using, speed up the cooking by spreading on a plate.
Preheat oven to 200C fan-forced (220C non-forced).
Cut the pastry into 2 rectangles and roll each half into a rectangle measuring roughly 24cm x 30cm. Place one sheet in the fridge while you prepare the first.
With the short side of the pastry facing you, spoon half the cooled fruit mixture, stone fruit and almonds down the centre of the pastry 8cm wide (leaving 8cm of pastry either side of the filling), allowing 5cm top and bottom. Start at the top of the pastry, cutting a diagonal line 1cm out from the filling up to each corner of the pastry. From the same starting points 1cm above the filling, cut two vertical lines and remove the two triangles of pastry. At the bottom, 1cm out from the filling, cut a vertical line on each side to the bottom of the pastry. From the same starting point, cut a diagonal line at the same angle as above (on both sides) and this is the finishing point for the lattice strips.Remove the pastry directly below this point on each side. Following the diagonal cuts at the top, cut evenly spaced diagonal lines 2cm wide down both sides to the finishing points.
To assemble, fold the centre pieces of pastry at the top and bottom of the filling to encase the ends of the filling. Brush the end pieces with egg wash and starting at the top fold a strip from each side over the pastry end and filling. Continue until you reach the bottom. Carefully slide the pastry lattice onto a baking tray lined with baking paper, refrigerate while you prepare the second one.
Brush both braids with beaten egg.
Place both pastry braids in preheated oven, 200C fan-forced (220C non-forced), for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 180°C fan-forced (170°C fan-forced) and bake for a further 30 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
Meanwhile for the lime glaze, combine icing sugar and lime juice together in a small mixing bowl, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over the top of the braids.
Note: For an easy Christmas dessert look no further than this flaky braid log – easy enough to make on a busy morning – oozing with juicy (and boozy if you so wish) fruit mince filling inspired by stone fruit that’s in season. Makes two logs to last the whole Christmas, otherwise halve the recipe. For an extra indulgent treat, feel free to spread ¼ cup dark or milk chocolate chips over the mince for each log before wrapping the pastry into a braid.