Buccellato di Lucca




Combine the raisins and grappa and let stand for 30 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir yeast and anise seed into milk. Let stand until yeast softens, about 5 minutes.

In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

Stir in vanilla, orange peel (half of), anise extract, and salt. Add yeast mixture, grappa drained from the raisins (half of) and 4 1/2 cups flour, mix until evenly moistened.

To knead with a dough hook, beat at high speed until dough pulls cleanly from sides of bowl, 10-12 minutes; add a little flour if required.

Cover dough, kneaded by either method, with plastic wrap. Let dough rise in a warm place until doubled in size about 1 hour. Knead briefly to expel air.

In a food processor, combine the figs and walnuts (we just chopped them finely).  

Pulse to chop coarsely, transfer to a bowl and stir in the currants, raisins, cherries and citron.

Add the Grappa, orange juice and zest, cinnamon, and cloves.

Allow the mixture to sit for 2-3 hours to absorb the liquid, then stir in the honey, chocolate, and walnuts.

On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough into a rectangle.

Roll out into an 45 x 23 cm rectangle. Spoon the filling leaving a 5 cm strip border.

Start rolling dough from the 45 cm edge into a jelly roll.

Gently transfer the log, seam side down, onto the prepared baking sheet. Bring the ends together to form a ring.  Pinch ends together to seal.

With a sharp knife, make a series of decorative slashes on the top (we omiited this).

Bake in a previously pre-heated oven at 180°C until golden brown (about 40 - 45 minutes).

Transfer to a rack and allow to cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Transfer the cake to the rack to cool completely.