Sweet Dragon Fruit Claw

Seriously. Let’s get crazy and throw some dragon fruit, orange juice, dates, cranberries and coriander into a sweet roll bread and drizzle some buttercream icing on it. Hallelujah.

Dragon fruit, you ask? A strange, dragon-egg looking fruit that tastes like a cousin to the kiwi. Here’s a shot of the pulp that goes in the recipe…

I cut my long roll short and made a few individual rolls in a large muffin tin. You know you want one.

Warning: the next picture may well be the beginning of your addiction to strangely-named sweet rolls. Did I mention that the dates and dried cranberries harden and become like candy in the swirl?

I brought some to my friend Michael’s house the day I made this recipe. I shall let his testimony speak for itself:

Sweet Dragon Fruit Claw

Seriously. Let's get crazy and throw some dragon fruit, orange juice, dates, cranberries and coriander into a sweet roll bread and drizzle some buttercream icing on it. Hallelujah.

Prep Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 1 large claw
Author Mark Oppenneer


For the Dough

  • 1 scant tablespoon (or 1 ¼ ounce package) active dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water 105° to 115°F
  • 1 cup warm orange juice 105° to 115°F
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup solid vegetable shortening
  • ½ cup dragon fruit pulp mashed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • 4 ½ to 5 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted

For the Filling

  • ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated orange peel
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese five spice
  • ½ cup chopped dates
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries

For the Glaze

  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar sifted
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  1. Begin the dough by softening the yeast in the water in a large bowl.
  2. Add the orange juice, granulated sugar, shortening, dragon fruit, salt, coriander, and 2 cups of the flour. Beat vigorously with a dough whisk or a heavy-handled spoon for 2 minutes.
  3. Gradually add more of the remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough forms a mass and begins to pull away from the side of the bowl. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface.
  4. Knead, adding more flour, a little at a time as necessary, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until you have a smooth, elastic dough and blisters begin to develop on the surface.
  5. Put the dough into an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven kitchen towel and let rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  6. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. Using a rolling pin, shape the dough into a 24 x 18-inch rectangle. Brush lightly with the melted butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border along one long edge.
  7. To make the filling, combine the brown sugar, orange peel, dates and cranberries in a chopper or food processor. Chop the heck out of it until it is mixed (may come out sticky and clumpy - that's okay). Spread the mixture evenly over the buttered dough. Using your hands, roll the dough toward the unbuttered edge to form a 24-inch cylinder and pinch all along the edge to seal. Carefully lift the cylinder onto a parchment-lined or well-greased baking sheet, seam-side down. Bring the ends together, without pinching them, to form a circle.
  8. Starting about 1 inch to the right of the join, cut the dough at 1-inch intervals all around the circle with long-bladed scissors. Cut from the outside to within 1 inch of the center, making sure you cut through both the top and bottom layers of dough.
  9. Cover the loaf with a towel and let rise about 45 minutes, until almost doubled.
  10. About 15 minutes before the end of rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.
  11. Bake the loaf for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden (the internal temperature should reach 190°F). Remove from the baking sheet and cool on a rack for 30 minutes before glazing.
  12. To make the glaze, combine the confectioners' sugar, butter, and milk. The mixture should have a 'drizzleable' consistency. Drizzle the glaze over the loaf.

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