Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Bread of Angels

Isn't it gorgeous? It's Gubana, and you should definitely make some.

          Since he's retired, K has taken over the bread-baking. And it has been wonderful.

          Now, I like baking and I'm good at it, but I fail at the consistent and regular production thing. There are many things going on besides bread that must be attended to, and sometimes I forget to make the bread. There are shiny pretty objects to distract me and cause me to forget to make the bread. There is the post-vacuuming collapse that causes me to postpone the bread-making until tomorrow, when I'm strong enough to face it, and then subsequently on the morrow I forget entirely to make the bread.

          But K—K is consistent. We never run out of homemade bread. He is precise. He uses a scale and grams and percentages and for all I know pipettes and petri dishes.

          In addition to the crusty delicious everyday country loaf he makes, he makes an extraordinary special holiday bread. It is the food that angels eat, in addition to that fluffy white cake stuff, and it is far, far better.

          It is loaded with butter and mascarpone cheese and hazelnuts and dried fruit soaked in Marsala. I will give you the recipe because I can see you drooling from here. You can also find the recipe where K found it, on

Chock full of yummy goodness.


(Holiday Fruit Bread)



1 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 salt


2 1/2 cups dried mixed fruits (such as apricots, pears, prunes, and/or apples), diced (K uses dried apples, apricots, pears, prunes, and figs.
1/3 cup coarsely chopped hazelnuts (roast hazelnuts before chopping in a 350-degree oven for 15-20 minutes)
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.

1 comment:

  1. That looks so good! I can't bake worth anything.