Russian Easter Bread
|Fresh yeast||1 1⁄2 Ounce (40 Gram)|
|Lukewarm milk||7 Fluid Ounce (225 Milliliter)|
|Raisins||2 Ounce (50 Gram)|
|Flour||1 1⁄2 Pound (700 Gram)|
|Icing sugar||9 Ounce (275 Gram)|
|Vanilla essence||1⁄2 Teaspoon|
|Unsalted butter||8 Ounce, softened (250 Gram)|
|Hot water||1 Tablespoon|
|Blanched almonds||2 Ounce, slivered (50 Gram)|
|Candied peel||2 Ounce, chopped (50 Gram)|
|Icing sugar||8 Ounce (250 Gram)|
|Cold water||3 Tablespoon|
|Lemon juice||1 Teaspoon|
Mash the yeast and 1 tablespoon of the milk to make a paste.
Leave in a warm, draught-free place until frothy.
Mean while, soak the raisins in the rum for 15 minutes.
Sift the flour, icing sugar and salt into a mixing bowl.
Make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture and remaining milk.
Gradually mix the flour into the liquid.
Beat in the vanilla, then the egg yolks, one at a time.
Gradually beat in the softened butter.
Dissolve the saffron in the hot water and stir into the dough.
Turn out of the bowl and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Return to a greased bowl and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in bulk.
Toast the almonds under the grill until they are golden brown.
Add to the soaked raisins with the candied peel.
Knock back the dough.
Add the fruit and nuts and knead to distribute them evenly.
Put the dough into a greased and lined coffee tin or tall cylindrical mould that is about 15 cm/6 in in diameter and 18 cm/7 in tall.
Leave to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.
Bake in a fairly hot oven (200°C/400°F or Gas Mark 6) for 40 minutes.
Reduce the temperature to moderate (180°C/350°F or Gas Mark 4) and continue baking for 1 hour.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then cool completely, standing upright, on a wire rack.
To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a mixing bowl.
Add the water and lemon juice and mix to a thin paste.
Pour this icing over the top of the cooled bread and allow it to trickle down the sides.