This traditional Easter Italian bread hails from the Natisone Valleys north of Venice (right near the Austrian and Slovenia borders). Brioche-like (but less rich), cake-like (but more bready), and filled with a wonderfully rich combination of nuts, raisins, chocolate and sweet wine, gubana also makes an appearance at Christmas time and to celebrate weddings.
- 450 g (3 cups) plain four
- 110 g (½ cup) caster sugar
- 7 g (1 sachet) dried yeast
- good pinch of salt
- 1 whole egg, at room temperature
- 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
- 1 tsp natural vanilla extract or essence
- finely grated rind 1 orange
- 100 g butter, cubed
- 125 ml (½ cup) milk
- melted butter, to grease
- 1 extra egg, lightly whisked, to glaze
- 125 ml (½ cup) marsala
- 170 g (1 cup) seedless raisins, chopped
- 100 g hazelnuts, toasted and peeled (see Note)
- 100 g walnuts, toasted
- 50 g (⅓ cup) pine nuts, toasted
- 80 g savoiardi (sponge finger biscuits), broken into chunks
- 40 g (¼ cup) chopped glace orange rind or mixed peel
- 2 tbsp cocoa powder, sifted
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- finely grated rind of 1 lemon
- 1 tbsp honey
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Resting time 2 hours
Combine the flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the centre. Whisk together the whole egg, egg yolk, vanilla and orange rind. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the milk and heat until just luke warm. Remove from the heat and add to the flour with the whisked egg mixture and use a wooden spoon and then your hands to mix to a soft dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic (see Note). Lightly grease a clean large bowl with the melted butter, add the dough and turn to coat the dough in the butter. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Meanwhile, to make the filling, heat the marsala and raisins in a small saucepan over a medium heat until almost simmering. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
Process the hazelnuts, walnuts and pine nuts in a food processor until chopped. Add the savoiardi biscuits and use the pulse button to process until the biscuits are crushed to a similar size as the nuts. Transfer to a bowl and add the glace orange rind, cocoa, cinnamon and lemon rind. Add the cooled raisin and Marsala mixture and the honey and stir to combine and form a coarse paste.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 20 cm springform tin with melted butter.
Punch the centre of the dough down with your fist and turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Use a lightly floured rolling pin to roll out the dough to a rectangle about 30 x 50 cm. Spread the filling evenly over the dough, leaving a 2 cm boarder. Starting from a long side, roll the dough up to enclose the filling and pinch the ends to seal. Twist into the greased tin to form a coil. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm draught-free place for 1 hour or until risen by about one third.
Brush the top with the extra whisked egg and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 160°C and bake for a further 40 minutes or until cooked through and sounds hollow when tapped on the base. Stand in the tin for 5 minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.
Serve at room temperature cut into wedges.
• Alternatively you can knead the dough in a stand mixer with a dough hook on low speed for 6-8 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. Read our interview with her or for hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Trish Heagerty. Food preparation by Wendy Quisimbung.
This recipe is from our online column, Bakeproof: Easter rituals.