Gourmet Traveller’s Sweet Italian Easter Bread recipe

Chocolate not your thing? This is the perfect alternative for a delicious Easter dessert!


1 egg, lightly beaten, for glazing
1 tbsp golden caster sugar, for sprinkling

100 gm (1 cup) walnuts, roasted
100 gm (2/3 cup) pine nuts, roasted
70 gm (½ cup) hazelnuts, roasted
80 gm (½ cup) blanched almonds, roasted
30 gm (¼ cup) amaretti
120 gm (¾ cup) raisins, coarsely chopped
6 dried Turkish figs, finely chopped
6 prunes, pitted and finely chopped
40 gm (¼ cup) chopped candied orange peel
80 gm dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), coarsely chopped
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
185 ml (¾ cup) Prunella Mandorlata (see note), plus extra for drizzling
2 eggs, lightly beaten

460 gm plain flour
2 tbsp caster sugar
7 gm (1 sachet) dried yeast
4 eggs
60 ml (¼ cup) lukewarm milk
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
130 gm unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing

1 For filling, pulse nuts and amaretti separately in a food processor until coarsely chopped. Combine with dried fruit, orange peel, chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, zest and liqueur, in a large bowl; stir to form a coarse, crumbly paste. Set aside for 1 hour or overnight. Just before using, add egg and stir well to combine.

2 For dough, combine flour, sugar, yeast and 1 tsp salt in an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Whisk eggs, milk, vanilla seeds, and zest in a separate bowl, gradually add to flour mixture, mixing on medium speed, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally, until dough pulls away from side (1–2 minutes). Beat in butter, a little at a time until dough is smooth and glossy (4 minutes). Form into a round, transfer to a bowl, lightly greased with butter, cover, and set aside in a warm, draught-free place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).

3 Grease a 25cm springform tin with melted butter. Knock down dough with fist and knead on a lightly floured work surface for 2-3 minutes or until smooth. Roll out to 1 cm thick to form an oval about 40cm wide x 50cm long. With long side facing you, spread filling over dough, leaving a 3cm border. Starting from one corner, roll dough up diagonally into a tight log and pinch ends to seal. With seam face down, wind log into a loose spiral, with sides touching. Finish by tucking tail underneath. Transfer to tin, cover and rest in a warm place until risen by about one third (about 1 hour).

4 Preheat oven to 180°C, brush top with eggwash, form one hand into a funnel and use to sprinkle over sugar in a spiral and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce temperature to 160°C; bake until top is dark golden and bread sounds hollow when tapped on base (45-50 minutes). Cool in tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool. Cut into wedges to serve. Drizzle with extra liqueur, if desired. Best enjoyed on day of baking. Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days and warm in low oven.

Note: Prunella Mandorlata, an almond and plum liqueur, is available from Italian wine stores. If unavailable, substitute amaretto or dark rum.

Recipe and image: Gourmet Traveller magazine

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