Sunday, April 20, 2014

And brought'st thy sweets along with thee . . .

Rise heart; thy Lord is risen . . .      
Can there be any day but this?
There is but one, and that one ever.
                     ~George Herbert (1633)

Here is an Easter Bread from the Polish tradition, studded with sweets and nuts and glazed with almond bark and grated lemon. The XV on the top signifies Christ is Risen. 

fruits and nuts to stir into the dough
risen and ready for the oven
Easter Bread

            2 scant Tablespoons active dry yeast
            1/2 cup warm water
            3/4 cup milk, scalded and then cooled
            1/3 cup sugar
            1 teaspoon salt
            2 large eggs
            1/2 cup shortening
            1/2 cup golden raisins
            1/2 cup mixed dried and/or candied fruit (I used cherries and dates)
            1/2 cup chopped blanched almonds
            2 teaspoons grated lemon peel (orange peel too if desired)
            4 1/2 to 5 cups white flour

            1 cup powdered sugar
            1 scant Tablespoon warm water
            1 teaspoon lemon juice
            grated lemon peel to taste

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, raisins and fruit, almonds, lemon peel, and about half the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour to make a medium-soft dough and knead until smooth and elastic. Let dough rest for 10 minutes or so. Punch it down and form a round loaf. Spank the loaf a few times so it knows what's what, plus to remove air pockets. Place it in a greased round casserole dish or loaf pan. Cover and let rise in a warm place (I put the bread pan on top of the in-use dryer), about 20 minutes.

Bake at 375 until the top is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Cool on a rack. Spoon glaze over the bread and sprinkle with grated lemon peel. Trim with a thickened glaze, piped on top.

Come with high and holy hymning
He hath opened heaven's gate

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