Kulich (Russian Easter Bread)
This recipe may be doubled for a MONSTROUS Easter bread.
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup light cream, scalded and cooled
1 cup unsifted regular all-purpose flour
2 or 3 egg yolks
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 lb. melted and cooled butter
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground cardamom
1 tsp. fresh grated lemon peel
1 tsp. fresh grated orange peel
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped blanched almonds
1/2 cup milk, scalded and cooled
1 cup rye flour
2 to 2 1/4 cups unsifted regular all-purpose unbleached flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Mix in cream and 1 cup regular flour. Beat until smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1/2 to 1 hour. Add yolks, sugar, butter, salt, cardamom, peel, raisins and almonds; combine thoroughly. Add milk and rye flour, and mix well. Add all but 1/4 cup of the remaining unbleached flour to make a stiff dough. Sprinkle remaining flour on board; turn out dough and knead about 10 minutes, until smooth. Butter the bowl and put the dough into it. Turn dough over to grease top, cover and let rise until doubled in bulk.
Punch dough down and work into a smooth ball. Place dough, rounded side up, in a well-buttered, straight-sided 2 quart pail, and let dough rise to the top of the pail. Bake at 350 deg. for 1 hour (1 1/2 hour for the doubled version). Test for doneness with a wooden skewer. Let cool in pail for 20 minutes before turning out.
Glaze: mix icing sugar with the juice of 1/2 lemon to make a thick, smooth glaze. Drizzle over the Easter bread.