This is an old and traditional Italian recipe. It quite simple: it just a bread dough, enriched with sugar, butter, egg and few other ingredients. But its presentation is quite stunning in its simplicity!
The recipe comes from an Italian book "Pane e roba dolce" (Bread and sweet things) of Margherita e Valeria Simili, two sisters that dedicated their life to teach the best of Italian cuisine worldwide.
I made some variation, though, because I love experimenting with the recipe. In this case I add some cinnamon to the dough and I made a richer filling using an almond cream instead of simple butter.
It takes a while to make it, because the dough as to rest and raise. But it's truly worthy!
135 gr bread flour
5 gr di active dry yeast75 gr warm water
Mix all the ingredients and let rest until doubles in volume.
200 gr bread flour
200 gr all purpose flour
75 gr granulated sugar
5 gr cinnamon
3 egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
120 gr butter, softened
120 gr warm milk
Put all the ingredients in a stand mixer and with the hook mix very well, until the dough will pull off from the bowl.Pour the dough on a slightly floured board and incorporate the starter, kneading well so that the two will mix together. Put this dough into a greased bowl and let raise, again, until double in volume.
150 gr almond cream
75 gr di drunken cherries
75 gr di chocolates chunks (or chips), any kind (I prefer bittersweet)
When the dough is well double, roll it out thin, trying to obtain a rectangular shape. Spread the almond cream all over the dough; sprinkle the cherries and the chocolate chunks e roll it pretty tightly from the longest side. At this point, make a cut in the center of the roll lengthwise, obtaining two long stripe. Braid the two stripes, keeping the cut side on the outside, and then put them together so to have a "wreath".
Put the shaped dough onto a baking sheet (covered with silpat or parchment paper) and let raise again for 30-40 minutes, no longer!!!! Bake in a preheated oven at 375 F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. If after this time is not cooked yet, reduce the oven temperature and bake it longer.
Remove it from oven and sprinkle immediately with powdered sugar or a simple icing or glaze.
Note: click here to see how this bread is made!
This recipe participate to the wonderful initiative of Festa Italiana