16 March 2008

Easter Once Again

Cooking and baking are now becoming serious hobbies of mine and a lot of time I spend reading foodie blogs for ideas and tips. Clicking around, I found the Art You Eat blog, which I thought was a wonderful idea. This month the theme is of course eggs, with Easter coming up and all and so it's time for the annual kozunak baking. This time, I wisely only made one lot and so will get to bed on time, being school night and all.

Unlike last year, I've decided to make the kozunak egg baskets. These are something that my Dad talks about around Easter, with his eyes glittering in nostalgic memories. Apparently his Grandmother used to make these for all her grandchildren.

For each basket a hard boiled painted egg and a twig of willow or hazel is needed. The twig should be thin - about 1 cm diameter at the bottom end, straight with no branches at all and be about 80 - 90 cm long. I used regular food colours for the eggs - 1 tsp of colouring in about 1 dl lukewarm water. I left the eggs in for about 6 hours.

Painted eggs

The twigs should be washed thoroughly, then twisted around to a hoop.

Willow hoops

Willow hoops tied in

Prepare the kozunak dough as per my recipe. Then after the dough has risen take about a quarter of it for one basket. Divide the quarter into 3 equal parts. Roll each part into a long sausage, it should be about 2 cm diameter.

Press in the willow hoop into the rolled dough and make sure it's well covered and evenly thick throughout. This will be the basket handle.

Handle in place

Roll out the second part to the same length and thickness, then spiral around the knot of the willow hoop and upwards. Make sure the dough layers overlap a little.

Handle and bottom in place

Roll out the third part like before, then place the egg over where the second part ends and continue to spiral the third part around the basket incorporating the egg as well.

Easter Egg Basket ready to proof

Leave to proof for 30-40 minutes, brush with whipped up egg and bake on gas mark 3 (175 degrees C) until golden brown.

Easter Egg Basket

Also what I've spotted on my blog readings is a bread called Challah and by the look of it I have a suspicion that kozunak is related to it. And so with the remainder of the dough, I made two traditional plaits.

Note: Yes, I started out with two eggs and two willow hoops and I made two baskets (one for each niece), but I keep forgetting that I have a double oven and the basket with the green egg sort of rose too much and was almost twice the size of the one in the photo above, so I didn't include it in the final photo. In fact it cracked the egg shell completely! That didn't stop my nieces from eating the baskets a few days later.


AYE Admin said...

Hi! This looks like a neat idea. Thanks so much for sending this in to the Art You Eat event. Watch for the round-up on the 25th.


african vanielje said...

These are great Caramella. I love challah so if this dough is anything like it YUM! What an Easter treat for a child and no wonder your dad has such nostalgic memories.

Caramella Mou said...

Thank you both for your kind comments, I'm only sorry I'm not too good at making these baskets prettier, but once every other year or so is not enough practice.
I'll definitely look out for the round-up.


Mrs. W said...

I think it's gorgeous! What fun--I would have loved to get one of these as a kid!

Caramella Mou said...

Thank you Mrs W for stopping by and thanks for the instructions for the lovely little chicks, they are so going on to the list of things to do at Easter. You know, when I first saw the photo, I thought it was a toy chick figurine that you'd put in the egg, I love that!


Mrs. W said...

My pleasure, Caramella. The egg chicks were fun to make, and sure would be a kid-pleaser around eastertime! I know I gobbled them up as soon as the pictures were taken!