A seasonal treat is this whimsical Santa-bread recipe, brought to us by chef Michel Richard, owner of Citron in Los Angeles and Citronelle in Santa Barbara and Washington, D.C.
- 1/2 cup finely chopped kataifi (or coconut)
- 5 cups high-gluten or bread flour
- 1 cup rye flour
- 1 tablespoon coarse salt
- 1 cake (3/5 ounce) of fresh yeast or 1 package (1/4 ounce) of active dry yeast
- 2 raisins
- 2 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
- 1 1/2 ounces red food coloring
- 1/4 cup apple jelly or apricot jam, melted
Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Spread kataifi in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in oven, turning occasionally until dry, about 20 minutes.
In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, combine the high-gluten-flour, rye flour, salt, and yeast. Mix until well blended. With machine running, gradually add about 2 1/4 cups warm water (100 degrees) until dough comes together around hook. Continue mixing until dough is elastic and pulls away from sides of bowl, about 3 minutes. Turn out onto a floured work surface. Shape into a ball, and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Set aside for 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Divide dough into 1 one-pound piece and 1 two-pound piece. Keep smaller piece covered with a kitchen towel while working with the larger piece. Form larger piece into a cone. With smaller piece, form two 1 1/2-ounce balls for the pom-pom and nose, two 1-inch rounds for the eyes, one 8-by-1 1/2-by-1/4-inch rectangle for the hat brim, one half round 1/4 inch thick and 8 inches in diameter with a 6-inch radius for the beard, and one half round 1/4 inch thick and 5 inches in diameter with a 1 1/2-inch radius for the mustache.
Stretch small end of cone, and curve it to one side to form cap. Transfer to baking sheet. Fit the rectangle onto base of cap for the brim. Take one 1 1/2-ounce ball, and attach to end of cap for the pom-pom. Place the second 1 1/2-ounce ball on face to make a nose. Place one raisin in each 1-inch round, and press onto face to form eyes. Using a knife, cut vertical slits in larger half round, to make beard. Attach to lower half of face. Cut horizontal slits in smaller half round. Gather in center, and press into face forming mustache and mouth. Cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rise for 15 to 30 minutes.
Brush face and beard with egg yolk. Add food coloring to egg yolk, and brush hood and tip of nose. Place in oven. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Bake until it sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 1 hour. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Brush brim of hood and pom-pom with apple jelly. Sprinkle with kataifi or coconut.