My mother’s family came to the US from Poland, first to Deep River, CT, then moving to Buffalo, NY. When I was little, after church and after my brother and I had found all the hidden Easter eggs, we’d all sit down to Easter brunch. The menu never varied: juice, fresh kielbasa, boiled eggs, and babka. No chocolate till we’d all finished brunch. This year, I’ve decided to make a babka instead of settling for the dry kind sold in stores.
This recipe is from Old Farmer’s Almanac.
- 1 yeast cake, or 1 package dry yeast
- 1/4 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) soft butter
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 egg yolks
- grated rind of 1 lemon
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 5 cups flour
- 1 cup milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
- 1 cup white raisins
- 1/3 cup fine bread crumbs
- 1 egg yolk, beaten
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 cup chopped almonds
Add yeast to lukewarm water and let stand until softened or dissolved, about 5 minutes. Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, add salt to egg yolks and beat until thick; then add to sugar and butter mixture. Add yeast and water, lemon rind, and cinnamon. Add flour alternately with milk and beat well to make a smooth batter. Add raisins and knead by hand until batter leaves the fingers. Let rise in a warm place until double (about 1-1/4 hours). Punch down and let rise again until double.
Generously butter a fluted tube pan. Sprinkle with fine bread crumbs, sugar, and if desired, honey, and fill pan with dough. Brush with mixture of egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons water. Sprinkle with almonds and let rise again. Bake in preheated 350 degrees F oven for 30 minutes.