- 1 1/2 cups dried tart cherries (coarsely chopped)
- 1½ cup coarsely chopped dried
- 1 cup water
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 1/4 cups milk (at room temperature)
- 1/3 cup butter (softened)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 egg (at room temperature)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 6 ounces cream cheese (softened)
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- Attach KitchenAid® Heated Chef Bowl to stand mixer. Preheat to 110 0°F. Once preheated, add dried cherries, dried apricots and water to bowl. Cover and let mixture stand for 10 minutes. Add yeast and mix well. Cover and let mixture stand for an additional 5 minutes.
- Remove cover and attach dough hook. Reduce bowl heat to 90°F and add milk, butter, sugar, egg, salt and 2½ cups flour. Turn to speed 2 and mix ingredients until blended, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add remaining flour, ½ cup at a time, until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of bowl. Knead on Speed 2 for 2 to 3 minutes longer. Turn mixer off and remove heated bowl attachment. Cover/drape a kitchen towel over top of heated bowl. Set timer to 45 minutes and allow bread dough to rise in heated bowl or until doubled in bulk.
- Prepare filling while dough is rising. Attach KitchenAid® Stand Mixer bowl and beater to mixer. Add cream cheese and mix on Stir speed for 1 minute. Scrape bowl. Add egg, flour, sugar and almond extract. Turn to speed 5 and beat until well blended, about 1 minute. Set filling aside.
- After dough has risen, punch down. Remove dough from bowl and roll into a rectangle, approximately 12 x 15-inches. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and reshape to size. Cut 1-inch strips approximately 3-inches long on both lengthwise sides of dough. Spread reserved filling down the center of dough. Fold cut strips over filling, alternating sides to form a braided pattern.
- Spray braided loaf with cooking spray or brush lightly with oil. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place, until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Bake at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and transfer braid to a wire rack to cool completely.