Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Easter week! We are beginning the longest party in the Church!

We are now fully launched into the Easter season--that grand party that will last for many weeks; it has been called the longest party in the Church. We keep rejoicing at the Resurrection of Christ, at his victory over sin and the grave--and at what that means for all of us!

So don't just serve leftovers! (When you must, disguise and renew them by the addition of new touches: a new vegetable? a new flavoring? a delicious new sauce?)

And if you didn't get around to it for Easter, perhaps make a Kulich--a Russian Easter Bread--now! It is really glorious looking, and delicious.

Here is the recipe for Kulich, slightly modified from A Continual Feast.

1 package dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (about 100-110F)
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
4 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons brandy or rum
2 eggs
3 cups flour
1/4 cup blanched almost, chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins, plumed in hot water, drained
Optional: 1/4 cup orange and/or lemon peel, and/or candied fruits

1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Regular white icing (of any kind) for the letters on top of the bread

You will need a 2-pound coffee can. Or you can make two loaves, using two 1-pound tins—but you get much more visual effect with a single, large can!
Sprinkle the yeast I the warm water, stirring to dissolve.
In a large bowl, combine the milk and the melted butter. Stir in the sugar, salt, lemon rind, vanilla extract and brandy. Stir in the yeast. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the flour, a little at a time, adding only enough to make a soft, non-sticky dough.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 to 15 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic. Place it in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover and place in a warm, draft-free spot for 1 to 1½ hours, or until doubled in bulk.
Punch the dough down and turn it out onto the floured surface again. Press the dough flat and work into it the almonds and raisins, and the candied peels and fruits (if used).
Form the dough into a large ball and press it, seam down, into the greased coffee can(s). It should only fill half of the can.
Cover the can lightly and let the dough rise for about 30 to 45 minutes, or until it just reaches the top of the can—no higher!
Bake the Kulich at 375 F for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown, and until a toothpick stuck into the center of the top comes out clean.
Frost with confectioners’ sugar icing. Mix the confectioners’ sugar with the milk and vanilla. Let the icing drip down the sides of the cake.
With regular (that is, solid) white icing, pipe the letters XB on the top of the cake—these Russian letters stand for “Christ is Risen.”


  1. This bread was SO delicious, and I can imagine that left-overs of this loaf would make for a truly decadent French Toast breakfast!

  2. Without Cyrillic letters on my computer, the closest would be XPUCTOC BOCKREC...

  3. Or rather XRUCTOC BOCKPEC, I apologize...