Paska Easter Bread
Paska Easter Bread is a bread which is made and eaten on Easter in the Easter European countries like Poland, Ukraine and Slovakia. Over the years, the tradition passed to other continents and now it is an Easter food in US, Canada and UK also.
The basic recipe of Paska bread consists of butter, eggs, and sugar. It is then glazed with egg and water mixture. It may contain a swirl of white and yellow which represents the Christian faith. Yellow symbolizes the Christ in Christian faith and white as the Holy Spirit. This bread may also have maraschino cherries to represent royal jewels to honor the resurrection of Jesus. This Easter food is served with "hrudka", or syrek which is a bland sweet custard.
Paska Easter bread is made with little variations in America and Ukraine. The Americans
make Paska with flour, cream, butter, sugar, eggs and yeast. Sometimes a bread spread made cottage cheese and egg yolks is spread on the bread and frosted with white icing. The bread may contain white raisins to signify ‘living bread coming from heaven’.
The original Paska Easter bread or the noted Easter food is made in Ukraine. In Ukrainian Paska means Bread. Here it is sweeter and has decorations of religious symbols. The bread is taken to church along with other Easter food for blessings. Here is the recipe to make the Paska Easter Bread:
1 egg yolk
2 1/2-3 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Melted butter, if desired
1. Beat egg and egg yolk until fluffy and light. Add 2 cups flour, sugar, salt, yeast, lemon peel, orange peel, vanilla, and raisins. Mix thoroughly.
2. Heat milk and butter to hot (120°-130°F). Add to flour mixture. Mix thoroughly.
3. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth about 10 minutes.
4. Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double about 1 hour.
5. Punch down dough. Set aside a little of the dough to be used as decoration on top of the loaf. Shape the rest into a ball.
6. Place in greased cake pan 3 inches deep and 6 inches across or 1 quart soufflé dish. Make cross of remaining piece of dough; place on top of loaf.
7. Cover; let rise in warm place until double about 30 minutes.
8. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven 45-60 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack. While still warm, brush with melted butter if desired.
Paska Easter Bread is just one of the Easter foods made on the occasion along with Easter eggs. As a tradition, a special basket is carried to the Church on Easter and the food is blessed.
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