Star bread

Festive yeasted treat

If you fancy a yeasty bake with a bit of festive sparkle, then make this star bread. It is bound to impress. 

I combine vibrant green Sicilian pistachios with dried cranberry jam and a hint of orange for warm wintery flavours. 

Takes 4 hours with 45 minutes hands on time.  Serves 8 as an afternoon, or after meal treat.

You will need…

  • 30g unsalted butter (melted and cooled slightly)
  • 120ml whole milk
  • 300g strong white bread flour
  • 7g dried yeast
  • 30g golden caster sugar
  • 7g salt
  • Zest of one orange
Pistachio filling
  • 100g Sicilian pistachio nuts 
  • 50g icing sugar
  • 1 egg white (keep the yoke though)
  • Pinch of salt
Cranberry filling
  • 50g dried cranberries          
  • 30g caster sugar
  • Few squeezes of orange juice (from the orange you zested)
To finish
  • 1 egg yoke
  • 2 tbsp icing sugar
  • 1 tsp water
  • A few dried cranberries
  • A few pistachios
  • Edible gold leaf (optional)

To make star buns…

  1. Put the cranberries in a bowl and cover with warm water and leave to soak.
  2. Make the dough by combing all the ingredients in the bowl of a food mixer. With a dough hook mix till combined and allow the mixer to knead the dough for 10 minutes.  The dough should be fairly stiff but very elastic. Cover with film and leave to rise for 1 to 2 hours, or until doubled in size. Whilst the dough is proving make the fillings. 
  3. Pistachio filling: place the nuts in the bowl of a food processor and whizz on high speed until finely powered. Add the icing sugar and salt and pulse to combine. Add the egg white and pulse to combine into a thick paste. Set aside till later.
  4. Cranberry filling: place the cranberries and the soaking water in a pan along with the sugar. Cook until syrupy, crushing the cranberries with a wooden spoon as you go. Add a few drops of orange juice and set aside too cool.
  5. Once the dough has doubled in size, knock it back and divide into four equal portions (use scales for greater accuracy). Take each portion of dough shape into a ball by holding the piece of dough in one hand and starting on one side pull the edge into the centre with your other hand, turn the dough slightly and again pull the edge into the centre. Work your way around the dough creating a ball. Place the balls on a tray, cover with film and leave to rest for 15 minutes.
  6. Working one a time, take a ball and roll out into a circle about 25cm/10inches in diameter. Try to keep the dough as circular as possible. Repeat with all balls so you have four circles.
  7. Place a dough circle on a sheet of baking paper, or a silicone baking mat and cover with a thin layer of the pistachio filling. Take a second circle of dough and place it on top of the filling – press down lightly and then cover with cranberry filling. Take a third dough circle and before placing on top cover it with a thin layer of pistachio filling – then carefully place on top of the cranberry layer. Add the final dough circle on top. 
  8. Trim the layered dough into a neat circle (cutting around a large plate helps with this).
  9. Using a mug/bowl with a diameter of approx 7.5cm/3 inches mark a circle in the centre of the circle, then using a sharp knife make a cut through all the layers from the edge of the dough to the mug/bowl mark. Make a second cut 180° from the first. Make third and fourth cuts 90° from these. Divide each 90° section with two further cuts. You should end up with 16 cuts (see illustration below).
  10. Holding an adjacent piece of dough in each hand twist them in opposite directions for 3-4 turns, exposing the filling. Pinch the two pieces of dough together at the end to form a point Repeat this process will all the pieces of dough so you star has 8 points.
  11. Slide the baking paper / silicone sheet onto a flat baking tray and set aside to prove for 45 minutes, till risen and puffy.
  12. Heat the oven to 150C fan / 170C non-fan.
  13. Once proved glaze, the top of the bun with the egg yoke beaten with a little water till runny. Place in the centre of the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes till nicely brown.
  14. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on the baking sheet (it will be quite fragile till cooled). Once cool move to a serving plate and decorate with a thin icing made from mixing the icing sugar and water and placed in a piping bag, extra pistachio nuts, cranberries and (if feeling decadent) edible gold leaf.
  15. To serve, cut or tear the points off!
How to cut the bread, and twist the points


  • I recommend Sicilian pistachio nuts for their vibrant green colour and creamy flavour. If you cannot get these then substitute with standard pistachios.
  • If you don’t have a food processor, then use ground pistachio and mix with the sugar and egg white.