Next Sunday , May 1st, we will celebrate Easter in Russia. For this holiday many Russian women make very special meal and bake traditional sweet Easter bread -Kulich. The night before the Easter, many Orthodox Churches holding special night services and this traditional bread is already baked and people take it to a church as this bread represents the body of Christ. Next morning it is common in Russia visiting your neighbors and giving away Kulich and colored eggs.
The bread is normally very sweet to taste and light and airy to feel. It is traditionally decorated with meringue and colored millet on top. I found many different variations of this bread on line. Usually it takes all day to work with the dough which is not that much time many women have now while working and taking care of their families. I have chosen more adapted version of Kulich recipe which will take less time and bread taste as good as the original recipe.
I decorated my Kulich with colored red chocolate and dry fruits and nuts. It looked gorgeous! By wrapping it into colored wrapping paper and using stretch bows ,can make your Kulich ready to be given away to your family, friends and neighbors.
For about two 7″ and six 2 1/2 ” round Kulich breads you will need:
All ingredients bellow need to be room temperature
- 4 egg whites
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 1/2 cup of sugar
- 3 3/4 cups of organic flour sifted
- 250 ml of milk
- 1 tablespoon of dry active yeasts
- pinch of salt
- 3 tablespoons of sour cream
- 1 stick of unsalted butter
- 1 cup of dry fruits , I used raisins
- Panettone bread baking cups can find here
For the topping:
- 6 ounces good quality white chocolate
- chocolate oil based food coloring of any color, I used red
- 1 cup of chopped dry fruits of your choice, I used dry figs and raisins
- 1/3 cup chopped roasted unsalted pistachios and almond slices
In a small bowl combine 50 ml of milk, one tablespoon of sugar and yeast and let it rest for 5-10 minutes or until yeast starts fermenting and build a foam.
In two separate bowls separate egg whites and egg yolks. Add a pinch of salt into egg yolks and let them rest for few minutes. Then whisk egg yolks with fork gradually adding 1/2 cup of sugar until it becomes light in color.
Using stand or hand mixer mix on medium speed egg whites adding another 1/2 cup of the sugar until it builds light foam.
Meanwhile in small sauce pan bring to boil rest of the milk and 1/2 butter stick. Add 50 grams of flour and combine it quickly using whisk to avoid lumps.
Pour egg yolks into large mixing bowl then add milk with yeast, mix it well.
Melt butter and add it slow to egg whites mixture, then add sour cream and mix it until well combined. Pour this mixture into egg yolks and yeast mixture, add a tablespoon of vanilla and mix it again.
Now slow start adding sifted flour, mix it well with your hands and form a ball. The dough will be sticky, you can use a little grape seed oil to prevent it from sticking to your hands. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 1 1/2 hour until it doubles in size.
Take the dough , add raisins and mix them into the dough, you can use a little bit more grape seed oil.
Fill each of the baking cups half full and let the dough rise again. When ready bake bread for about 15 -20 minutes for a small cups and 25-30 minutes for the larger cups at 350F.
Check if ready with wooden stick. If it comes out clean then it is baked through.
Let your bread cool completely before topping it with melted chocolate.
To decorate: chop pistachios and dry figs first. Melt white chocolate on double boiler, be careful do not over heat it as the chocolate can seize and at this point will be spoiled. You can add one tablespoon of a grape seed oil to your chocolate for a shiny finish.
Drizzle melted chocolate on top of each Kulich and top it with chopped fruits and nuts.