Kulič – Russian Easter Bread

Kulič – Russian Easter Bread

Kulič (also known as Kulich), is a sweet bread traditionally prepared by Orthodox Christians to celebrate Easter in Russia, as well as in Bulgaria, Belarus, Romania, Serbia and the Ukraine.  This sweet bread, quite similar to the Italian Christmas Panettone, is decorated with the Cyrillic characters for X and B, which are the initials of the acclamation Христос воскрес  (Christ has risen).
Kulič, is blessed during Easter Saturday or Sunday mass, and eaten in the morning before breakfast accompanied by pashka, a dessert made with curd cheese, eggs, almonds and butter.

Ingredients

  • 150 g raisins
  • 1 tablespoon vodka
  • 50 ml warm water
  • 1 cake (25 g) fresh yeast
  • 250 ml milk
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 400 g sugar
  • 180 g powdered sugar
  • 500 g plain flour
  • 120 g melted butter
  • 200 ml orange flower honey
  • 1 envelope (0.5 g) vanillin
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 egg white
  • 70 g slivered almonds
  • 6 tablespoons LIMMI lemon juice

 

Preparation

Soak the raisins in the vodka overnight. Dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in the warm water, then mix in the yeast, and wait until it foams (about 10 minutes).
Warm up the milk on medium heat, stir in the saffron and cardamom, mix well, then take it off the heat and let it rest till lukewarm.
In a large bowl, make the dough by thoroughly mixing the yeast with the milk, 100 g sugar and 100 g flour. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise for about 1 hour.
In another bowl, mix the melted butter with 100 g of sugar, the honey, 3 tablespoons Limmi lemon juice, vanilla extract and salt. Once thoroughly mixed, add 2 eggs + 1 yolk, then knead it over a floured work surface for about 5 minutes, adding 400 g of flour a little at a time.
Complete the dough by adding the raisins and slivered almonds.
Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a pre-oiled container, then turn it over to evenly coat its entire surface with oil. Cover the container with plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm place for about 90 minutes.
Thereafter, forcibly drop the dough on top of the working table a few times, and thoroughly knead it again for a few minutes. Butter a cylindrical baking pan of suitably large diameter, place the kulič in it, cover it, and let it rest for another 45 minutes. Pre-heat the oven at 180° C and bake it for about 45/50 minutes. Take the kulič out of the oven, and let it cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan.

Now it’s time to make the glaze.

Beat the egg white till stiff peaks form, then add the powdered sugar and 3 tablespoons of Limmi lemon juice to it. Gently stir to obtain a foamy glaze, then pour it over your Russian Easter bread. Decorate it with a few slivered almonds.