An Italian Christmas is not complete without this high-domed cylinder of fruit-studded sweet bread.
yeast, active dry
of half an orange
pine nuts, walnuts, or hazelnuts
This recipe has an option of using the microwave to make the bread rise.
Soak the cherries in the wine.
In the processor bowl fitted with steel blade, combine flour, sugar, salt, yeast and nutmeg.
Pulse to mix. Cut butter into pieces and arrange on the top.
Pulse to blend so that it almost disappears.
In a glass measure, combine the milk and water.
Microwave on high about 40 seconds (see power levels), then with a fork, whisk in the vanilla, eggs, and egg yolks.
With the processor motor running, drizzle the liquids very slowly into the flour mixture processor.
Process 60 seconds.
Add orange zest and pulse to mix.
Transfer to large glass mixing bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
To use the microwave for bread rising, place the bowl in the microwave.
Place an 8-ounce glass of water in the back of the microwave.
Lower the microwave to low (see power levels).
Place the dough in the microwave.
Heat on low for 3 minutes. Rest for 3 minutes.
Heat on low for 3 minutes longer. Rest for 6 minutes, or until the batter has risen to double in bulk and is bubbly and light.
Or let the dough rise in a warm draft-free place about 45 to 60 minutes.
When dough has doubled in bulk, stir the batter down, then stir in the cherry mixture, nuts and candied pineapple until well distributed.
Grease generously and lightly flour two, 1-pound coffee cans.
Cut a parchment or wax paper circle to fit the bottom of each can and add it, dusting and flouring it as well.
Spoon the batter into the cans, filling about halfway.
Press down slightly. Let rise in a warm, draft free place until nearly doubled in bulk, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 325℉ (160℃). Just before popping it in the oven, cut an X in the tops of the loaves with a razor. Italian bakers put a blob of butter into the cut. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour, or until evenly browned and a skewer stuck in the center comes out clean. Remove immediately to a rack to cool, then 15 minutes later, slide the cakes out of the pans and lay them on their sides to continue cooling. Dust with powdered sugar while warm. When cooled, wrap in plastic to store.