These sweet Christmas buns make a great alternative to mince pies and look really festive on the table.
Place the flour into a large mixing bowl, add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other side.
Warm the milk and butter in a small saucepan until the butter is melted and the mixture is lukewarm. Pour into the flour mixture, add the eggs and stir thoroughly until the contents of the bowl come together as a soft dough. The dough will be sticky.
Tip the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead well for 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. Alternatively this can be done in a stand mixer using a dough hook.
Place the dough into an oiled bowl and leave to rise, covered with a damp tea towel, for one hour or until doubled in size.
Mix the mincemeat with the diced apple, pear, orange zest, candied peel, pistachio nuts and cinnamon.
Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 50cm x 45cm.
Tack down the long side of the dough rectangle nearest to you by pressing it down onto the work surface with your thumb.
Brush all over with the melted butter. Then spread the mincemeat mixture over the dough, leaving a 2cm border.
Roll the opposite long side of the dough towards you quite tightly, until the roll is complete and tight. Trim the ends to neaten. With a sharp knife, cut it into 15 thick rounds of about 4cm.
Line a very large baking tray, or the grill tray from your oven, with baking parchment.
Arrange the rolls on the prepared tray (cut side up) in a Christmas tree shape: 1 on top, 2 underneath, 3 in the third row, 4 in the fourth row, 5 in the fifth row, and use some of the trimmings to make a trunk. You want the rolls to be close enough so that when they rise further and are baked, they will bake with their sides touching. They can then be pulled apart and you get a lovely soft edge.
Cover loosely and let rise for 30–45 minutes.
Pre-heat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. When the buns are ready, put them in the oven and bake for 20–25 minutes until golden brown. Check after 15 minutes or so and cover the buns with foil if they are getting too brown.
Remove the buns from the oven and let them cool slightly before transferring them from the tin to a cooling rack.
Melt the jam in a small saucepan with a splash of water until smooth. Brush the jam over the buns to glaze and allow to cool.
Mix together the icing sugar, orange zest and 2 tablespoons of water. Place in a piping bag and pipe on the tree for garlands. Garnish with glace cherries, candied peel and chopped pistachio nibs.