In some Eastern European countries, This sweet bread is often served around Easter, or in the spring. Wikipedia explains the tradition and provides a photograph of this delightful bread.
Trivia:This sweet bread is called Kulich in Russia and Kalacs in Hungary.
Kulich or Kalacs Recipe
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 packages dry yeast
6 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup mixed candied fruit
1/4 cup chopped almonds, toasted
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
First mix together your sugar, salt, cardamom, yeast and one cup of the all purpose flour.
Place a saucepan over low heat and pour in the butter, vanilla and one cup of milk. Heat this until it is warm.
Using a good mixer set to a slow speed, beat the milk mixture into the dry ingredients mixture. Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for two minutes before adding the eggs and an additional two cups of flour. Beat this until you have a thick batter, then stir in three cups of flour. This will give you a soft dough.
Flour a kneading surface and knead this dough for about five minutes. Add the raisins, fruit and almonds. Knead this until it is smooth to the touch. Using your hands, form the dough into a large ball. Put this ball into a greased bowl. Cover it and allow it to stand for approximately 90 minutes. It should double in bulk.
Take three metal coffee tins (1 kilogram in size or 2 1/2 pounds). Rub oil over aluminum foil and line each tin with this foil. Divide the dough equally between each tin.
Warm the oven to 350 ° F. Brush milk over the top of each loaf. Place the tins on the oven's bottom rack and cook for approximately 50 minutes. The loaves will sound hollow when cooked.
Take the kulich out of the tins immediately and place on wire racks.
When the loaves are cool, top each sweet bread loaf with icing made by combining the icing sugar, lemon juice and two or three tablespoons of milk.
This kulich or kalacs recipe makes a wonderful gift for Easter or to celebrate spring time.