From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...I've wanted to share this bread with you for a while now, but each time that thought moves to my frontal lobes, I am distracted by something else and my good intentions fall by the wayside. This year, I am determined to post it before Easter Sunday, in hopes that it reaches some of you before your holiday menus are set in stone. No special skills are needed to prepare this holiday bread. The electric mixer literally does all the work, but you'll get all the credit for a lovely festive loaf that looks professionally made. The recipe for this Polish-style holiday bread appears on both the Fleischman's Yeast and King Arthur websites, but I honestly don't know which to credit for this fabulous sweet bread. While they both call the bread a babka, it truly is not. Babka is the Polish word for grandmother, and the bread that bears that name is baked in a bundt or babka pan that, when un-molded, will give the loaf the appearance of a grandmother's wide pleated skirt. This bread has that shape but it much easier to make than a true babka. A handful of standard ingredients are used to form a shaggy batter to which dry or candied fruit, or toasted nuts are added. No kneading is involved. The batter is poured into the pan in which the bread or cake will bake. That truly is all there is to this recipe. When the bread comes from the oven, it is doused with rum syrup and drizzled with icing that makes it very festive indeed. I personally think the icing is overkill, but I suspect mine is a minority opinion. I do hope you'll give this recipe a try. Festive sweet breads are rarely this easy to make and this recipe is a treasure that I know you will enjoy. Here is how this batter bread is made.
Tipsy Batter Bread...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Fleishman's Yeast and King Arthur Flour
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
3 large eggs, at room temperature
heaping 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) softened butter
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup currants or raisins (golden raisins preferred)
1/4 cup candied mixed fruit or toasted almonds, chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water or apple juice
Optional: 1 to 2 tablespoons rum or 2 teaspoons rum extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
pinch of salt
2 tablespoons milk; or a combination of milk and rum or apple juice
1) Place everything except fruit in bowl of an electric stand mixer. Beat at medium speed until ingredients come together. Increase speed to high and beat for 2 minutes more.
2) Add fruit, beating gently just to combine.
3) Cover bowl, and let dough, which looks like a thick batter, sit for 60 minutes. It won't look like much is happening, but there is no need to worry.
4) Scoop batter into a greased 10-cup Bundt pan. Cover pan, and let dough rest/rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
5) Bake bread for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads at least 190 degrees F.
6) While bread bakes prepare rum syrup. Combine all syrup ingredients in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring mixture to a boil, and boil, swirling liquid in pan, until sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat.
7) Remove bread from oven. Gently poke it all over with a toothpick or fork, and slowly pour syrup over surface of bread. When syrup is fully absorbed (about 20 minutes or so), carefully loosen edges, and turn bread out of pan onto a rack.
8) To make the icing: Mix all icing ingredients together, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over completely cooled bread. Yield: 12 to 16 servings.
Other Easter Breads
Braided Easter Egg Bread
Sticky Buns for Easter Brunch
Brioche du Careme - Hot Cross Buns
Flower Pot Bread
Colomba Pasquale - Italian Easter Bread
Ciambellone - An Italian Easter Bread
Kulich - Russian Easter Bread