Preparation time: 20 minutes
Rising time: 1 1/2 hour
Baking time: 1 1/4 hour
Often the kulich were carried to church and set out on long tables to be blessed by the priest. (In the old days, the priest would often make a "house call" to his wealthier parishioners to bless the food at home.)
The cake forms a hat shape, since the dough swells above the mould and becomes wider. Russians often trim off the brim and place it in the centre of a serving plate. The cake is then cut in half horizontally and sliced. These slices are arranged around the brim. Kulich is traditionally served with Fresh Cheese Pashka.
- Soak the raisins in the rum for 10 minutes; drain; mix the saffron with the rum and set aside;
- in a bowl, dissolve the yeast and 1 tbsp. sugar in 125 ml (1/2 cup) warm milk; let sit 10 minutes; add the vanilla, egg yolks, rum and saffron;
- combine the flour, icing sugar and salt; make a well in the centre;
- gradually pour the yeast and egg mixture into the well, gradually blending in the flour to form a dough;
- place on a floured work surface and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic, while gradually incorporating pieces of the butter;
- place into a lightly greased bowl; cover with a cloth and let rise until doubled in volume;
- in a bowl, toss the almonds, candied fruit and raisins with 1 tbsp. of flour until well coated;
- punch down the dough; mix in the fruits and almonds and knead for 2-3 minutes;
- butter a rectangular bread tin; line with a sheet of buttered brown paper, with the unbuttered side facing out;
- place the dough into the pan; cover with a cloth and let rise 30-45 minutes until well risen;
- place into a preheated 110° C (210° F) oven for 15 minutes; increase the oven temperature to 180° C (350° F) and bake for 1 hour longer.
- Combine all the icing ingredients; pour slowly over the top of the cake so that it drizzles down in thin streams.
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