• MA Senft

Book Recipes: Christmas Tea Ring

Updated: Aug 9

When I was a little girl, the majority of my memories involve helping my mother cook and bake in the kitchen: from helping to roll out dough on the kitchen table to standing on a chair to stir pots at the stove, they are some of my most treasured recollections. My mother passed away when I was barely an adult myself and I took over the responsibility of my younger siblings. I started making specific recipes that reminded me of her and it became my gift to my family: a memory through food. Those memories have found their way into Shadows of December: Illusions of Time.  There are many mentions of different culinary items, how they taste, smell, make the characters feel. These are real recipes that have always meant a great deal to my family and myself. I thought I’d take a minute to share some of them with you!


Below is the recipe for my infamous Christmas Tea Ring. I started making this in 1967 and you can see from the picture at the bottom that it is a much-loved recipe! It is delicious for the holidays, makes a wonderful gift, and the smells that will fill your home when you make it are incredible. My son Geoff, who mentioned in the book, is the only family member who has ever helped make this dessert. It has always been like a secret recipe in the family. One I alone make. May this provide for you as much love and sweetness as it has provided for us!




English (Christmas —to our family) Tea Ring

1 package active dry yeast

¼ cup warm water

½ cup milk, scalded

3 tablespoons shortening

3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon salt

2 ½ to 2 ¾ cups sifted all-purpose flour

1 beaten egg

½ teaspoon vanilla


Fruit Filling (combine the following ingredients) (I use much more sugar and cinnamon sprinkled into the melted butter that I coat the dough with)

¼ cup sugar

1 teaspoons cinnamon

½ cup chopped walnuts

½ cup chopped candied fruits and peel (Optional)


Soften yeast in warm water. Combine milk, shortening, sugar, and salt; cook to lukewarm. Add 1 cup of the flour; beat well. Add softened yeast, egg, and vanilla. Mix in enough flour to make soft dough. Place in greased bowl and turn once to grease the whole surface of the dough. Cover and let rise until double (1 ½ to 2 hours).


Roll into 13x9 inch rectangle, about ¼ inch thick. Brush with melted butter; spread evenly with Fruit Filling. Roll lengthwise and seal edge. Shape in a ring on greased cookie sheet. Using scissors, snip almost to the center at 1-inch intervals. Pull sections apart and twist slightly. Let rise until double (35-45 minutes). Bake at 375 degrees for about 20 minutes.



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M.A. Senft 

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