Poppy seed crown

Denise says:

Queen Esther is one of the most popular characters for fancy dress at Purim, so here I have created a ‘bread crown’ to symbolise her special character to be enjoyed a the Seudah. It can be frozen, so make in advance.

Preparation Time: 50 minutes plus 2 hours 45 minutes for proving

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

Makes: 1 Round loaf enough for 10


For the bread dough:

  • 250ml milk
  • 50g butter, cubed
  • 450g strong plain flour
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg – beaten to glaze

For the Filling:

  • 250g dried mixed fruit
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons mixed spice
  • Zest and juice 1 lemon
  • Zest and juice 1 orange
  • 50g pistachio nuts –roughly chopped
  • 100g butter – softened
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 2 tablespoons golden caster sugar


  1. Make the bread dough by first warming the milk in a saucepan but do not let it boil.
  2. Add the butter and set aside.
  3. Tip the flour, yeast, sugar, salt into a large mixing bowl.
  4. When the milk has cooled to room temperature pour the liquid on to the flour mix.
  5. Using an electric mixer combine the dough until it is soft. Transfer it to a lightly oiled clean bowl and cover with cling film. Leave to rise for 2 hours or until double in size.
  6. Place the mixed fruit, cinnamon, mixed spice, zest and juice in a saucepan.  Boil for 5 minutes so the fruit absorbs the liquid and become soft ( or place in a glass bowl, covered and put in the microwave for 1 minute).
  7. Chill until cold, then mix in in the pistachio nuts, butter, poppy seeds and sugar.
  8. When the dough is ready, knock back the air.  Transfer to a lightly floured work surface.
  9. Roll out to a 45 cm x 28cm rectangle.
  10. Spread the buttery spiced fruit mixture over the surface of the dough.
  11. From one of the long edges, roll the dough up into a tight cylinder, then bring the two ends to meet, creating a ring.
  12. Transfer to a tray lined with baking parchment paper.
  13. Using a sharp knife, cut incisions around the outside of the dough, about 3 cm apart, in a sunburst pattern, going quite close to the centre but not all the way through.  Work your way around the outside, pull each piece of dough out a little, then push it down on one side so that the cut edge is exposed and to create a fan shape around the edge. ( See picture)
  14. Brush the ‘crown’ with egg and leave for 45 minutes to prove or until double in size.
  15. Preheat the oven to 200 C/ 180 Fan/ Gas mark 6.
  16. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden and hollow sounding when tapped on the base.
  17. Leave to cool on a rack before eating warm or cold.