Gubana – a delicious raisin and chocolate rolled Brioche from Italy


While this wonderful Italian brioche may seem like a lot of work (and I generally start it the day before I want to serve it), it is well worth the effort and makes for an outstanding dessert or a special afternoon tea/picnic treat.

Please do give it a try – I was hesitant to make my first one, but it is so delicious that you will mark it as one of those dishes to make when you want to make a statement out of an occasion.


Gubana – Raisin & Chocolate Rolled Brioche


420g (15oz) unsalted butter, roughly chopped

665g (1lb 7oz) plain flour

1½ x 7g yeast sachets

55g (¼ cup) caster sugar

2 eggs

250ml (1 cup) milk, at room temperature


Raisin and Chocolate filling


100g (2/3rd cup) raisins

60ml marsala

75g (1/3rd cup) caster sugar

60g (2oz) hazelnuts

60g (2oz) walnuts

40g (¼ cup) pine nuts

40g (1½ oz) unsalted butter, softened

15g (½oz) cocoa powder

1 orange, finely zested

1 lemon, finely zested

1 tablespoon grappa

1 teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves

¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

100g amaretti (approx 3.5oz) biscuits, crushed

40g (1½oz )chocolate, roughly chopped  (I like to use good quality 70% cocoa dark chocolate)



Place chopped butter on a lightly floured work surface, then scatter over 40g flour. Using your fingertips, rub flour into the butter until combined. Place butter mixture on a sheet of baking paper and shape into a 20cm square, then top with another sheet of baking paper. Using a rolling pin, roll out until smooth and about 1cm thick. Set aside in a cool place.

Place yeast, a pinch of sugar and 80ml warm water in a bowl, stir to combine and set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 5 minutes or until the mixture bubbles. Place remaining 625g flour and a pinch of salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add yeast mixture, sugar, i egg and milk, and knead for 8 minutes or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm, draught-free place for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.

Punch dough down and roll out onh a lightly floured surface to a 45cm square. Place butter square in the centre on a 45 degree angle. Fold corners of dough into centre for form an envelope around the butter. Roll out to a 25cm x 60cm rectangle, then fold one of the short edges into the centre and fold over the other short edge to cover. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Roll out with the shortest edge facing you, repeat folding, then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

To make the filling soak raisins in marsala for 1 hour or until plump Drain, then transfer to a food processor with remaining ingredients, except amaretti and chocolate. Process to a coarse paste, transfer to a bowl and stir through the amaretti and chocolate.

Grease a 26cm cake pan and line base with baking paper. Roll out dough to a 50cm x 40cm rectangle, scatter with chocolate filling, leaving a 1cm border, and roll unto a sausage. Coil dough into the pan, cover with a tea-towel and set aside in a warm draught-free place for 1 hour or until dough doubles in size.

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Lightly beat remaining egg and brush top of dough. Bake for 1 hour or until golden. Cool in pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and serve warm or at room temperature.



(Recipe by Alison Storey from Feast Magazine issue 31, 2014 with photography by Derek Swalwell)


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