Easter: Babka Recipe

Babka

Wikipedia-Eastern and Central European babka, especially among Christians, is a spongy, brioche-like yeast cake that is traditionally baked for Easter Sunday. The cake is traditional in the lands of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, namely Poland, Lithuania, Slovakia, Belarus, Ukraine, and Western Russia , as well as among the Rusyns (Ruthenians) in northeastern Hungary and all over Romania, where it is called “colac”. Darra Goldstein, professor of Russian at Williams College says “babka comes from baba, a very tall, delicate yet rich yeast-risen cake eaten in Western Russia and Eastern Poland.”Traditional babka has some type of fruit filling, especially raisins, and is glazed with a fruit-flavored icing, sometimes with rum added. Modern babka may be chocolate or have a cheese filling

Ingredients

1-1/4 cups margarine, softened
2 cups milk
2 (.25 ounce) packages active
���dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110
���degrees F/45 degrees C)
5 eggs
4 egg yolks
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange liqueur (optional)
3 tablespoons grated orange zest
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
10 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups currants
1-1/2 cups raisins
1-1/2 cups golden raisins
1 cup chopped blanched
���slivered almonds
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour

See Directions at polishrecipes.com

*There also exists a traditional Eastern European Jewish variety prepared during Passover in lieu of bread. Generally, this sort is not sweet and is prepared using crushed matzos with water, egg, and salt. Some Polish Jews refer to pancakes with these ingredients as bubbeleh, a name similar to babka.

Hot Cross Buns Recipe

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I have fond memories of hot cross buns. My grandma would make them. In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten hot or toasted on Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of the Crucifixion. (Read History)

 

Ingredients

Buns

 

1/4 cup apple juice or rum
1/2 cup mixed dried fruit
1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature
3 large eggs, 1 separated
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Topping

1 large egg white, reserved from above
1 tablespoon milk

Icing

1 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
4 teaspoons milk, or enough to make a thick, pipeable icing

1) Lightly grease a 10″ square pan or 9″ x 13″ pan.

2) Mix the rum or apple juice with the dried fruit and raisins, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave briefly, just till the fruit and liquid are very warm, and the plastic starts to “shrink wrap” itself over the top of the bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Note: If you worry about using plastic wrap in your microwave, simply cover the bowl with a glass lid.

3) When the fruit is cool, mix together all of the dough ingredients except the fruit, and knead, using an electric mixer or bread machine, till the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and any liquid not absorbed.

4) Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though may not double in bulk.

5) Divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3 3/4 ounces each. A heaped muffin scoop (about 1/3 cup) makes about the right portion. You’ll make 12 to 14 buns. Use your greased hands to round them into balls. Arrange them in the prepared pan.

6) Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they’ve puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

7) Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns.

8) Bake the buns for 20 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.

9) Mix together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe it in a cross shape atop each bun.

Recipe from Kingarthurflour.com