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From Dorothy McNett's Recipe book at www.dorothymcnett.com. In a typical Russian Orthodox home, Easter is a very special holiday. the faithful observe a long and lean Lenten fast of 40 days during which time meat and all dairy products are excluded. Every Russian Easter table, from the most modest to the most lavish, has as its center the Kulich and Paskha, the most awaited and special of the traditional Russian foods. Kulich is a rich, sweet bread, baked in a tall mold and decorated with white sugar icing and candy sprinkles, with a real or artificial red rose on the top. The letters X.B., which stand for "Christos Voskrece", or "Christ is risen" are usually piped onto the sides of the bread with sugar icing.
3 tablespoons vodka, rum or cognac
Place the vodka and raisins in a small bowl and allow to stand 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the raisins to a paper towel to drain and set aside. Sprinkle the saffron into the vodka, rum, or cognac and set aside. If using a bread machine, place the sugar, flour, salt, yeast, vanilla, milk, egg yolks, butter, and the rum-saffron mixture in the bread pan and program the machine for the dough setting. When the cycle has completed, remove the dough. On a work surface, gently knead in the reserved raisins, almonds, and candied fruits. Cover the dough and let it rest for about 10-15 minutes in a warm place. (If not using a bread machine, follow the same procedure except blend the ingredients and knead them by hand for at least 20 minutes. Allow to rise, covered, for at least 3 hours. You are doing manually what the machine has been doing on the dough cycle. Knead in the fruits and continue as described.) Spray the sides and bottom of a 3 pound empty coffee can with cooking spray, or coat with butter. Line with parchment paper allowing a collar of paper to stand over the top edge. Lightly spray the paper with cooking oil. Place the dough in the can, cover, and place in a warm place for about 3 hours or overnight, or until it rises to almost the top of the can. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake the cake on the lowest shelf for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for 1 hour longer. Remove from the oven and cool in the can for about 5 minutes. To unmold, turn the an on its side and remove the bottom of the can with a can opener. Gently ease out the bread and cool on its side, rotating from time to time. When completely cool, drizzle with the icing and decorate the bread.
Recipe created 1995-04-05.