* The butter, 3 sticks, should be cut into small pieces.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, combine the butter, 3 3/4 c flour, and 1/4 ts of salt. With your fingers, work the ingredients together until you form small granules that are fairly uniform in size. Sprinkle 8 tb of the ice water over the granules and continue mixing until you can gather the ingredients into a ball. If the dough crumbles, add additional ice water, 1 tb at a time, until a soft ball can be formed. With the flat of your hand, press the dough into a thick cake, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Prepare the filling by sifting the 3 1/2 cups of flour, the sugar, baking powder, spices, and remaining 1/4 ts of salt into a large bowl. Add the freshly ground black pepper, seedless and white or golden raisins, ground and coarsely chopped almonds. Mix thoroughly until all the fruits and nuts are coated well with the dry ingredients. Add the 3 eggs, milk, and brandy mixing well.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. and, on a lightly floured surface, roll two-thirds of the chilled pastry to a thickness of 1/4-inch. Gently place a 9 X 3 1/2-inch springform pan on the pastry. With a small sharp knife,cut along the outside of the pan to make a disk. Line the bottom of the pan with the disk of pastry. Use the remaining pieces of rolled-out pasty to line the sides of the pan, slightly overlapping the pastry on the bottom and letting the pastry extend about 1/2-inch above the top of the form.
Spoon the filling into the pan, packing it down firmly and press the excess pastry over the filling. Brush the pastry with a little of the beaten egg. In the same fashion, roll out the remaining pastry into a circle larger than the form. Roll the pastry around the rolling pin to lift it and unroll it on the top of the form.
Press the top pastry against the filling and the pastry below to make a tight seal and trim off the excess. Brush the entire top with the beaten egg. Cut a 1-inch round vent in the middle of the bun, and if you like, use the pastry scraps to make leaves. Roll the scraps together and cut out tear drop shapes to resemble leaves. Score the top, with a small sharp knife, to resemble the ribs of the leaves. Brush the undersides of the leaves with the remaining beaten egg to make them adhere to the top of the bun. Then brush the top again with the beaten egg.
Bake on a rack in the middle of the oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until the pastry is a rich golden brown. If the decorations color much faster than the top sheath of pasty, cover them with aluminum foil to reflect the oven heat and retard the browning.