Saturday, April 23, 2011

Babka (Ukrainian Easter Raisin Bread)

This one was meant to be:
  • First, in the "Arts & Life" section of The Chronicle Herald (Halifax NS) Friday, April 22, 2011 paper, on page E6 there is an article titled "Baking 'Bread of Life'" with recipes for Ukrainian traditional Easter breads. They look amazing!
  • Second, my husband is of Ukrainian background and remembers having these growing up but hasn't had it since he lived at home.
  • Third, it was a sunny afternoon with no real goals today and I already played outside with the children for two hours.
Put it all together and voila! The perfect opportunity to try Babka. The raisin and citrus traditional bread. They said it can be baked in a coffee or juice can. I have lots of juice cans, so I made half the recipe into 3 loaves.
Here it is, straight out of my oven. I baked it with the convection on in my oven. I should not have. They ballooned up and sideways! Yikes, quite top-able. I have never baked anything in a can before.

Immediately after this photo, they all fell down! The only one that landed on the floor got snatched up real quick, cut up and eaten!

Look at me go! Part of the blurry in the photo is actually steam. This loaf was literally just out of the oven.
There were raisins, and half a dozen eggs (well, 4 yolks and 2 eggs for the 3 loaves) and lemon and orange juices and zests in this bread. It was tremendously good. What a way to celebrate Easter! (Yes, just a little early, but there are still 2 loaves we're saving for tomorrow!)

I gotta say, they look rather odd, like golf clubs or something. Thankfully, they don't taste as funny as they look.
I even thought this one looks like it wants to give someone a kiss! The other recipe in the article has just as many eggs and regular ingredients, but it does not have the citrus or raisins in it. Instead, it is a show-off bread that gets braids and crosses and roses and rosettes placed on top and glazed. It is baked in a round baking pan with deep sides. It looked prettier, but I think raisin bread is yummier, so I tried it first. Maybe you will too!

On a related note, I took up making Ukrainian Easter eggs the year I met my husband. They are called Pysanky. They are insanely time-consuming to make, so I usually only do one or two a year, if I do any at all! Here are some I've made over the years:
The blue one in the middle is the first one I ever made. I liked the little butterflies. Each of these eggs took between 2 and 4 hours to decorate. Every symbol has a special meaning. I have a pattern book of ideas that I used to make these.

If I don't see you tomorrow, Happy Easter!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the entry. I had a good laugh. This year one of my babka's looked like it had a bad comb-over.