7 April 2007

Happy Easter!

The long awaited Easter holiday is here and I have two extra days on either side of the week-end. Yesterday I baked the traditional Bulgarian kozunak (plural is kozunatzi). This is a type of cake very much like a panettone. This year the Bulgarian and West European Easters coincide, something that my Dad doesn't like, because it means only one lot of kozunak, instead of two. Here is my Mum's old and trusted recipe.


2.5 dl full or semi-skimmed milk
2 dl caster sugar
1 kg strong white flour
14 g dried yeast (2 sachets)
4 large eggs
150 g butter (or 1 dl grapeseed oil and 50 g butter)
the zest from 1 lemon
0.25 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp dark rum

Suggested fillings

chopped nuts

Final touch
1 whipped up egg and pearl sugar or flaked almonds for decoration

  1. Warm up the milk to about 40 degrees C. Stir in 0.5 dl sugar.
  2. Mix well 2-3 dl of the flour with the yeast. Then add to the milk and sugar, stir in well to get a thick paste, then cover and place in a warm spot to rise.
  3. In the meat time, melt the butter, whisk the eggs and the sugar white and fluffy, then slowly add two-thirds of the butter, while continuing whisking.
  4. Add the lemon zest, vanilla and rum and mix in well.
  5. By now the yeast paste should have risen quite a bit. Add the egg mixture to it, and then slowly add the remaining flour and work into a dough. Add the remainder of the butter towards the end.
  6. Now cover the dough and place in a warm place to rise a second time for about 1 h or until it doubles it's size.
  7. When the dough is done, knead it, divide in pieces and make the kozunatzi.
  8. Traditionally it is done as a loaf in a tin or made into a plait.
  9. My Mum usually does a roll with a filling. Roll out the dough to a thickness of about 0.5 cm. Spread filling on top, then roll up and place on baking paper.
  10. Cover with a towel and leave to proof (rise a 3rd time) for 30 - 40 minutes somewhere warm.
  11. Preheat the oven to gas mark 3 (175 degrees C for electrical ovens). Brush the surface with the whisked up egg and sprinkle pearl sugar or flaked almonds. Bake in the middle until a nice golden brown colour has been achieved.
Yesterday I made a double dose of the above, which was a mistake, as I ended up staying to 3 o'clock in the morning to finish baking the kozunatzi. I also ended up with 7 large loaves. You can see 6 of them in the picture, the last one being still in the oven. I made one roll with just raisins, two with rolled out marzipan because Lundulph likes that, one with blackberry and cloudberry jam I had left over, one with blackberry jam and chopped hazelnuts, one in a loaf tin and one as a plait. A word of warning - be very sparing with the filling as it tends to run out during baking. I used too much marzipan and a lot of it came out of the roll and stuck to the baking paper.

This morning we had some for breakfast and it was very nice. Most of the kozunatzi I sliced and froze, it'll last us well into the Summer for sure.

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