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Introducing… Crispy Bits, the Podcast! (And Anna’s Raspberry Wreath!)

Anna Olson's Raspberry Wreath

It’s a Christmas miracle!

I’ve been talking about launching a podcast for years, and I finally did it – it’s done, it’s up! Anna Olson was in town promoting her new book, Set for the Holidays, last month, and I knew that she a) would be a perfect first conversation for the kind of podcast I had in mind, and b) totally up for sitting down for a chat with me. And! As a bonus, it was Christmas, which meant a self-imposed deadline: after recording it, I’d have to get it up before the holidays. It was a steeper learning curve than I thought – beyond the editing itself, which involves multiple tracks, smoothing out hot posts and awkward cuts, balancing the EQ and all that jazz, it weirdly enough is not as simple to upload a piece of audio as it is to post a video on YouTube. We talked to some pros who were far more elaborately set up than we are (Garage Band on my laptop) and took pages of notes (which I now can’t decipher), and we (Mike and I) have kind of figured out the editing and EQ and MP3 files, RSS feeds and all the technical stuff that goes on behind the scenes that I’m blissfully unaware of when recording things over at CBC. (I’m also not used to being on the interview side of the conversation, and hopefully I’ll get better at that!)

I’m positively giddy about this.. my stomach is doing backflips, and I can’t believe I can finally scratch LAUNCH PODCAST off my years-long to-do list. We’re getting started on the second episode over the holidays, before we forget all the stuff we’ve learned.

And so! Drumroll please… I give you episode 1 of Crispy Bits: the Podcast, with huge thanks to Anna Olson for being the very best guinea pig I can imagine. She’s as lovely and genuine in person as she is on the air, the perfect combination of smart, knowledgeable, friendly and funny – I wish I could do every episode with her. And I was so in this new zone that I completely forgot to take a photo with her, so I dug one up from when we went for drinks when she and her husband Michael (who is equally awesome) were in town for a wedding over the summer.

And! She has a new cookbook out, Set for the Holidays, which has been on crazy sale this season, and which is full of recipes that are perfect not only for the holidays, but year-round. I’ve already made her raspberry wreath three times (!!) and adore it – it’s like a round babka, with the potential for so many different fillings. Raspberry is perfect though, and she suggests freezing it ahead and letting it thaw on the countertop in the morning (or overnight) before sliding it into the oven. It’s a tad messy to make, but know that no matter how it turns out going into the pan (which can be a pie plate or other baking dish if you don’t have a cast iron skillet), it will look fabulous coming out. As is my norm every December, I made the drizzle with eggnog. Happy Christmas, everyone! Thanks to Anna for making this one even merrier! (You HAVE to hear what she did when extra people showed up to their Christmas party last year! Two words: TRIFLE BUFFET.)

Anna Olson's Raspberry Wreath

Anna Olson's Raspberry Wreath
Anna Olson's Raspberry Wreath

Raspberry Jam Danish Wreath

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December 21, 2018

Adapted only slightly from Set for the Holidays, by Anna Olson

Ingredients

Dough:

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 pkg (or 2 1/4 tsp) instant dry yeast

1 tsp fine sea salt

1/4 cup butter, at room temperture

1 cup milk

1 large egg

Filling:

1/2 cup butter, at room temperature

1 cup raspberry jam

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup frozen raspberries (still frozen)

1/2 icing sugar, sifted

1 Tbsp milk or eggnog

Directions

1To make the dough, combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt together in a large bowl. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat and pour the milk over it, letting it warm up to just above body temperature.

2Pour the liquid over the flour mixture, add the egg and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. Increase the speed by 1 level and knead until the dough springs back when touched, about 4 minutes. (If mixing by hand, stir the dough with a wooden spoon until it becomes too difficult and then turn it out onto the counter to knead by hand for 6 minutes or until elastic, adding as little extra flour as possible as you go.)

3Place the dough in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise on the counter until doubled in size, about 90 minutes. Meanwhile, make the filling: beat the butter by hand to soften it, and stir in the raspberry jam, vanilla and cinnamon.

4Generously grease a 12-inch ovenproof skillet, or a 10-inch (25-cm) or 12-inch (30-cm) round baking pan. Turn the risen dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll it into a rectangle about 20 × 10 inches.

5Spread the raspberry filling evenly over the dough and sprinkle the frozen raspberries on top. Starting at a long side, roll up the dough. Cut the roll in half widthwise, and then cut each piece in half lengthwise so you have 4 pieces, with the jam now exposed.

6Hold the first piece by the 2 short ends and twist them in opposite directions. Lay the twisted dough in the pan, with 1 end in the centre. Wrap the dough around the centre end in a spiral, working your way from the centre out toward the sides of the pan. Repeat with the 3 remaining pieces of dough, gradually enlarging the spiral so that it fills the pan—any spaces will fill in as the dough rises. Cover the pan with a tea towel and let the dough rise again at room temperature until almost doubled, 45 minutes.

7Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Uncover the pan and bake until the wreath is an even golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before glazing. Whisk the icing sugar and milk together and drizzle over the wreath. Serve the wreath either directly from the pan or transfer it to a cutting board and slice it into wedges to serve.

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6 comments on “Introducing… Crispy Bits, the Podcast! (And Anna’s Raspberry Wreath!)

  1. Valarie
    December 21, 2018 at 1:38 pm

    Awesome. I do love Anna Olsen. I love how different kinds of baking have different playlists.

  2. Carolyn
    December 22, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Just listened to the podcast — AWESOME!!! Looking forward to more episodes!

  3. Vivian
    December 22, 2018 at 2:16 pm

    Very informative and “REAL”. You two clicked…hope that will be the case for future encounters.

  4. Carolyn
    December 26, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    Fruitcake!
    Loved this podcast!

    • Julie
      January 11, 2019 at 5:03 pm

      Thank you!!

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