Saturday, 30 March 2013

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me...

Today was a good day, and just about as chilled out as birthdays come. I woke this morning to the warm, comforting smell of freshly-made coconut pancakes, which were promptly drizzled with passionfruit syrup and topped with slices of banana, only to be demolished enthusiastically.

Presents followed, and from Mum and Dad I received a pair of ski boots (!!!), which makes me even more unbelievably excited to go skiing this coming July. I also got an iPod arm band to go running with from Pippi, our chocolate labrador. I also got The Beatles' Magical Mystery Tour LP (!!!) new from my sister, but that was later this evening.

Then, I made lunch! Mum and Dad were a little perplexed by this. "But it's your birthday," they said, "shouldn't we be making lunch?" but I wanted to. I haven't baked, let alone baked bread, in a long time, and this is something I wanted to do for me, on my birthday. Plus I ADORE new-made bread.

I made Festive Gubana from The Free Range Cook by Annabel Langbein. The recipe describes it as 'a rolled sweet bread that is traditionally eaten at Easter, Christmas and weddings in parts of northern Italy.' And since it's Easter Friday, I thought this a doubly good excuse.

Also, keep in mind that only half of the dough recipe is needed to make one loaf. The other half can be frozen for later use, or can be made into cinnamon scrolls or any other sweet breads.

Festive Gubana

serves 6-8

Sweet Bread Dough

125 butter
2 cups milk
3 tsp dry yeast granules
¾ cup sugar
6 cups high-grade flour
1 tsp salt

Place butter in a small pot and heat gently until melted. Remove from the heat and add the milk. The mixture should be at blood temperature before you sprinkle the yeast and sugar over the top. Stir for a minute or two until the yeast is absorbed.
Mix flour and salt together in a large bowl. Add the milk mixture and stir until just combined. Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and  knead until smooth and silky - about 60-100 kneading strokes. Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled container, cover with a clean cloth and leave to rise until it has almost doubled in size - about one hour.


½  recipe sweet bread dough
1½ cups sweet fruit mince
½ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a 26-28 cm round cake tin with baking paper.
Roll dough out to a thickness of about 1 cm to form a 60x30cm rectangle . Spread the fruit mince over the dough, leaving a 2cm boarder. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top. Roll dough up tightly along the longest edge to create a long cylinder shape. Form the dough cylinder into a tight spiral and place it in the lined cake tin.
Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 45 minutes until nearly doubled in size. Bake for 30 minutes until golden and cooked through. Dust with icing sugar and serve.

How did you spend your Easter weekend?

Happy Easter!

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