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Imperial-style sweet golden bread


Makes: a 2kg loaf (about 24 slices)
timePrep time: 1 hr 10 mins
timeTotal time:
Imperial-style sweet golden bread
Recipe photograph by Nassima Rothacker

Imperial-style sweet golden bread


Makes: a 2kg loaf (about 24 slices)
timePrep time: 1 hr 10 mins
timeTotal time:

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Nutritional information (per serving)
Calories
391Kcal
Fat
18gr
Saturates
6gr
Carbs
46gr
Sugars
18gr
Fibre
2gr
Protein
10gr
Salt
0.1gr

Eleonora Galasso

Eleonora Galasso

Eleonora Galasso is a food writer, blogger and author of As The Romans Do (Mitchell Beazley, £25), a celebration of the cuisine of her home city.
See more of Eleonora Galasso’s recipes
Eleonora Galasso

Eleonora Galasso

Eleonora Galasso is a food writer, blogger and author of As The Romans Do (Mitchell Beazley, £25), a celebration of the cuisine of her home city.
See more of Eleonora Galasso’s recipes

Ingredients

  • 800g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 tbsp fast-action dried yeast
  • 150ml lukewarm milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 150g caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp to decorate
  • 120g unsalted butter, melted
  • zest of 1 lemon
For the filling
  • 100g raisins
  • 50g soft dried figs
  • 50g soft dried prunes, pitted
  • 50g blanched almonds, roughly chopped
  • 50g blanched hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 80g pistachio kernels, roughly chopped
  • 80g walnuts, chopped
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp fine dried breadcrumbs
  • 3 large eggs, separated and yolks beaten
For the saffron egg glaze
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 10-15 saffron threads
To decorate
  • 3 sheets filo pastry
  • 25g unsalted butter, melted
  • 50g icing sugar

Step by step

Get ahead
Make the bread a day ahead. Warm through, wrapped in foil, for 20 mins at 170°C, fan 150°C, gas 3. Leftovers are delicious toasted.
  1. To make the bread, weigh 200g flour into a large bowl, stir in the yeast and 1 teaspoon salt then mix in the milk using a wooden spoon. Tip onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until you have a smooth, elastic dough. Return to the bowl, cover and leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour until the dough has doubled in size.
  2. Once the dough has proved, beat the eggs and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer until pale and fluffy, then change to the dough hook attachment. Add the melted butter, remaining 600g flour, lemon zest and proved dough and knead together for 5 minutes to form a smooth, sticky dough. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rise further in a warm place for 1 hour.
  3. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Put the raisins, figs and prunes in a bowl, cover with boiling water and soak for 10 minutes then drain them well. Roughly chop the figs and prunes and place them in a mixing bowl with the raisins, chopped nuts, sugar, mixed spice, chocolate, pine nuts and orange zest, stirring everything together well. Preheat the oven to 180°C, fan 160°C, gas 4.
  4. Melt the butter in a small saucepan, add the breadcrumbs and cook, stirring, for a few minutes until lightly toasted. Tip the buttery breadcrumbs into the fruit and nut mixture.
  5. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until firm peaks form. Fold the egg whites along with the beaten yolks into the fruit mixture.
  6. For the egg glaze, mix the egg yolk with the saffron threads and a pinch of salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  7. Roll out the risen dough on a lightly floured surface to a 25 x 60cm rectangle. Spread the filling over the dough, leaving a 3cm border along one long side then, starting from the opposite long side, roll it up to form a long sausage. Use a little of the egg glaze to stick the edges together. Starting with one end, roll up the sausage into a spiral shape, again brushing the join with some glaze to stick, then gently transfer it to a baking tray. Brush the surface with the rest of the glaze and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 55-60 minutes until golden brown and cooked through (the centre of the swirl on top shouldn't look doughy). Cool on a wire rack.
  8. While the bread cools, make the decoration. Unroll the filo pastry sheets and cut out about 30 star shapes in three different sizes, using cookie cutters. Brush them lightly on both sides with melted butter, arrange on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake for 10 minutes until golden and crisp, then leave to cool on a wire rack.
  9. In a small bowl, gently mix the icing sugar with 1-2 teaspoons of cold water to give a thick glaze. Overlay three stars of different sizes and glue them together with a drop of the glaze; use a little more glaze to fix them to the bread. Repeat with as many stars as you like.
Chef quote
This is associated with the winter solstice on 21 December. In the days of the Roman Empire, it was prepared to increase the chances of the sun making a comeback. I bring you my updated version of this old-fashioned treat

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