Orange and lemon zest, and loads of raisins, currants and almonds make this sweet egg bread, a Polish Easter specialty, well worth the work. Serve for breakfast or with your afternoon tea.
INGREDIENTS (for 3 servings):
- 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 dried 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
Place yeast in a small bowl, and pour warm water over it. Stir with a spoon to break up the yeast. Set aside for 2 to 3 minutes.
In a small saucepan, scald milk. Add 1 cup butter or margarine, and stir until melted. Remove from heat, and let cool until lukewarm.
In a mixing bowl, beat 4 eggs and egg yolks with an electric mixer with a paddle attachment. Add sugar and salt, and continue to beat until mixture is thick and pale. Add vanilla, orange-flavored liqueur, zests, and yeast mixture. Combine. Beat in 4 cups flour gradually. Add milk mixture alternately with remaining 4 cups flour while beating on medium speed. Add up to an additional 1 cup flour if the dough is sticky. Mix in currants, raisins, golden raisins, and almonds.
Transfer dough to a clean large bowl. Knead using a large wooden spoon until the dough pulls away and doesn't stick to the spoon, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer dough to a large buttered bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm place until dough reaches the top of the bowl, about 1 to 2 hours. Punch the dough down, re-cover the bowl, and allow to rise again.
Butter 3 angel food cake pans. In a small bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 4 tablespoons butter or margarine, brown sugar, and cinnamon to form crumb topping. Sprinkle evenly among the 3 pans.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Punch the dough down again. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 1 minute. Cut into thirds, and transfer dough to prepared pans. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Allow to rise to the top of pan. Beat remaining egg, and brush the top of the dough.
Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped, about 30 to 45 minutes. Immediately turn out onto a cooling rack so bread does not stick to the pan. Cool.