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April 2001 Issue
Easter/Passover Medley
by Victoria Smith
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Hot Cross Buns
Hot Cross Buns are traditionally served on Good Friday (the Friday before Easter)and during the Lenten season, but they are good anytime.
  • 2 packages active dry yeast (1/4 ounce each)
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup softened butter or margarine
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 6 1/2 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup dried currents
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 egg yolk
Have the water and milk at 110-115 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Add the warm milk sugar, butter, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, and 3 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating the mixture well after each addition. Stir in the dried fruit and enough flour to make a soft dough.

Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and turn over to grease the top. Cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).

Punch the dough down and shape into 30 balls. Place on greased baking sheets.

Using a sharp knife, cut a cross (or X) on the top of each roll. Cover again and let rise until doubled (about 30 minutes). Beat the water and egg yolk together and brush over the rolls. Bake at 375-degrees F. for 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire racks. Drizzle icing over the top of each roll following the lines of the cut cross.

For the icing, combine:

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 4 teaspoons milk or cream
  • dash of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Stir until smooth. Adjust sugar and milk to make a mixture which flows easily.
  • Yields: 30 buns
  • Preparation Time: about an hour and a half

Easter Crown Bread
To decorate this pretty Easter crown, you will need 5 colored eggs but they must be uncooked. Be sure to use non-toxic dyes as you color them.
  • 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour -- divided
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup warm milk
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter or margarine
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed candied fruit
  • 1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon aniseed
  • 5 uncooked eggs
  • Non-toxic egg coloring
  • Vegetable oil
In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Add the milk and butter and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes on medium. Add the 2 eggs and 1/2 cup flour and beat on high for 2 minutes.

Stir in the fruit, nuts, and aniseed, mixing well. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (about 6 to 8 minutes). Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease the top. Cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).

Color the 5 eggs with non-toxic dyes. When they are dry, lightly rub them with vegetable oil.

Punch down the risen dough. Divide in half. Roll each half into a 24-inch rope. On a greased baking sheet, loosely twist the two ropes together. Form into a ring and pinch the ends together. Gently split the ropes and tuck the 5 colored uncooked eggs into the openings. Cover and let rise again until doubled (about 30 minutes). Bake in a 350-degree F. oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a golden brown. Remove from the baking sheet and cool on a wire rack.

  • Yields: 1 ring loaf
  • Preparation Time: about an hour

Passover Dark Chocolate Nut Cake
For the Cake:
  • 10 - 12 eggs
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups very finely chopped almonds or pecans
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
For the Glaze:
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1/2 teaspoon instant coffee crystals
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 3 tablespoons dairy sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon maple flavoring
Set a large mixer bowl in a sink filled with 2 inches of warm water. Separate eggs (you should have about 1 1/2 cups whites). Pour the whites into the warm mixer bowl and place yolks in a smaller mixer bowl (or let separated eggs stand, covered, at room temperature for 30 minutes).

Meanwhile, in a small, heavy saucepan, partially melt unsweetened chocolate and semisweet chocolate pieces over low heat. Turn off heat and stir (chocolate will continue to melt).

Cut a waxed paper liner for the bottom of a 10" tube pan, cutting it 1/2" wider than the pan and the center hole slightly larger than the tube. Grease pan thoroughly. Place liner in pan and grease liner.

Beat egg yolks with an electric mixer on high speed for about 4 minutes or till they're thick and lemon colored. Add the 2/3 cup sugar, beating till very thick. Stir in the melted chocolate and chopped nuts.

Thoroughly wash and dry beaters. Beat egg whites with vanilla and almond extract till foamy. Gradually add the 1/4 cup sugar to egg whites, beating till soft peaks form.

Lighten egg yolk mixture with about 2 cups beaten egg whites. Add to the remaining egg white mixture and fold together to combine. Turn batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 350-F for about 40 minutes or till top springs back when lightly touched. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and center to loosen. Cool in pan for 1 hour. Invert onto cake plate. Remove waxed paper.

To prepare the Dark Chocolate Glaze, melt chocolate over low heat in a small heavy saucepan or skillet. Remove from heat and stir in butter or margarine. In a small bowl, dissolve instant coffee in hot water. Stir in the sour cream and maple flavoring. Add sour cream mixture to chocolate, stirring till smooth and shiny. Spread over top and sides of cake.

  • Yields: 10 servings
  • Preparation Time: about an hour
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