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Holiday Fruit Bread


Makes 2 Spiral-Shaped Breads

This impressive spiral-shaped bread is my version of an old Italian standby, the classic sweet nut-and-fruit-filled bread of Friuli called gubana. I've added malt extract to fortify the proofing yeast and mascarpone cheese to create a delicate texture. If you can't find these ingredients, you can use sugar in place of the malt extract and cream cheese instead of mascarpone.


DOUGH1 3/4 cups warm (110º to 115ºF) water

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 tablespoons malt extract or sugar

4 tablespoons butter, softened

1/4 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 cup mascarpone cheese

6 to 7 cups King Arthur™ Unbleached, All-Purpose Flour

1/4 teaspoon fine sea saltFILLING2 1/2 cups dried mixed fruits (such as apricots, pears, prunes, and/or apples), diced

1/3 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts

1/4 cup raisins

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup sweet marsala wine

1 cup apricot or orange marmalade

1 egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup turbinado (coarse brown) sugar


In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in 3/4 cup of the warm water, stir in the malt extract, and let proof for about 10 minutes, until foamy.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the butter, sugar, eggs, and mascarpone cheese until smooth. Stir the remaining 1 cup water into the yeast mixture, then stir in the mascarpone mixture. Slowly add 5 cups of the flour and the salt, and mix with your hands to form a ball of dough, adding additional flour if necessary, until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for about 2 hours.

Generously grease two 2-quart soufflé dishes or round baking dishes. You could also use 10-inch springform pans or oven-safe pottery bowls. In a bowl, combine all the filling ingredients except the marmalade; mix well.

Punch down the dough and divide it in half. On a well-floured surface, roll each piece into a 16-inch circle. Spread 1/2 cup of the marmalade over each circle, leaving 1/2-inch around the outer edge, then sprinkle on half of the fruit mixture. Roll up each piece like a jellyroll, tucking the edges in as you roll. Pinch the seam tightly closed. Turn each bread seam side down, and shape into a spiral. Place the breads in the soufflé or baking dishes, cover, and let them rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Brush the tops of the spirals with the beaten egg, and sprinkle 2 tablespoons of the turbinado sugar over each one. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the tops are nicely browned and a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool for 30 minutes.

Run a knife around the edges of each dish and carefully turn the breads out. This bread is best eaten warm; the breads can be reheated in a warm oven.

Note: The breads can be frozen. Let cool completely, then wrap tightly in foil and freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, unwrap and let thaw, then reheat in a warm oven.

This recipe is from CELEBRATIONS ITALIAN STYLE by Mary Ann Esposito, published by William Morrow and Company Inc., in 1995.


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