2 packages active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 cup milk, warm
1 cup sugar
1 cup butter, melted, or vegetable shortening
1 teaspoon salt
6 eggs, beaten
6 cups flour (may need up to 8 cups)
1 twelve-ounce can pie filling (we used Solo brand almond filling)
2 dried beans (for the baby)
colored sugars or candied fruit (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350. Combine yeast and water in a small bowl, stirring until dissolved, and set aside until yeast is proofed. In a large mixing bowl combine the milk, sugar, and butter, stirring until dissolved. Add the salt, eggs, and yeast mixture and blend thoroughly. Beat in 3 cups of flour to make a smooth batter. Add additional flour to make a soft dough (dough will be very sticky). Turn on a floured board and knead 8 minutes or until smooth. Dough may be made with a standing mixer and dough hook.
Round into a ball and place in a warm buttered bow, turning to coat top. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and towel and let rise until doubled. Punch down the dough and divide in half. To prepare rings, divide dough in half and flatten into oval. Spread 1/2 can of filling on each oval, place the beans into each oval, and roll each piece into a rope. Join ends together leaving large oval hole in the middle.
Cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour. Bake rings for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and let loaves cool on wire racks.
3 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons milk
2 tablespoons vanilla
Mix together until fluffy and well blended. To serve, frost cooled loaves with icing. Decorate with sugar or candied fruit. Makes 2 cakes.