It’s finally Spring! It doesn’t really feel like spring here in New Hampshire, but it is. Even though it is still pretty chilly out, I know the nicer weather is right around the corner. We’ve turned the clocks ahead
screwed up my sleep habits for weeks and the days are longer. So, it’s only a matter of time before the weather follows suit.
With Easter on its way, I start thinking about what I’m going to be baking. Polish Easter is always a big deal. Święconka is the blessing of the Easter baskets on Holy Saturday. It is when you bring a sampling of your easter meal to the church to be blessed. Food is placed in a beautifully prepared basket and tradition says it is not to be touched until Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning until either Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. We always did this when I was young. It’s hard to find a church that continues this tradition these days.
In Poland, bread is symbolic of Jesus. And there is always lots of breads at the Polish Easter table. This Cheese Babka is one my favorites. It is a fairly dense bread swirled with a sweetened cheese filling and topped with streusel. I love that it isn’t overly sweet. There are always enough super sweet desserts to be found.
This is always at our Easter table. Even if you aren’t Polish, it is a deliciously different springtime recipe I know you’ll love.
- •1/2 teaspoon + 1/2 cup sugar
- •1/4 cup 110-degree water
- •1 cup milk
- •4 ounces (1 stick) softened butter
- •1 teaspoon salt
- •3 large beaten egg yolks + 1 large beaten egg white (for coating breads later)
- •5 cups all-purpose flour
- •36 ounces softened cream cheese
- •3 large egg yolks
- •1 1/2 cups sugar
- Crumb Topping:
- •6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- •8 tablespoons sugar
- •4 tablespoons cold butter
- Stir yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar into warm water. Set aside until frothy. Grease three (9-by-5-inch) loaf pans. (I only had 2 9×5 pans, so I used those plus 2 mini loaf pans and it worked out great, plus I get a tester. Win.Win)
- Scald the milk and place in a large mixing bowl or stand mixer. Add butter and stir to melt. Add 1/2 cup sugar, salt, yeast mixture, and 3 beaten egg yolks.
- Add flour and knead until shiny and elastic. Place in a greased bowl, turning to coat both sides, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. This may take as long as 2 hours.
- Prepare the crumb topping by mixing the flour and sugar and cutting in the butter as for pie dough.
- Prepare cheese filling by combining all filling ingredients until smooth, either in a mixer or by hand.
- Punch down dough and divide into three parts. Working with one part at a time and covering the rest, roll into a large rectangle 1/8-inch thick.
- Spread dough with 1/3 of the cheese filling. Fold in the sides of dough and roll up tightly as for a jellyroll. Place in prepared pan. Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with 1/3 the crumb topping. Repeat with remaining dough. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until above the rim of the pan.
- Place rack in center of oven and heat to 350 degrees. Bake babkas for 40-50 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 190 degrees. Let cool in pan 5 minutes. Using a knife, loosen babka from sides of pan. Cool completely in the loaf pan. Then turn out onto a rack.
Looking for some springtime decorating or recipe ideas? Today, a bunch of my favorite ladies are also sharing recipes and springtime home decorating ideas. I hope you have some time to “hop” on over to each of their sites and see what they’ve got “springing” up. See what I did there?
Next on the hop is my good friend Heather at Totally Tailgates. Her site is always filled with great recipes and good advice for your college bound kiddos, who I assume will be heading home for the holiday.
We’ll be hopping around next week too and sharing some more great ideas for spring. I can’t wait to share some more of my Polish Easter traditions with you.
Wesołego Alleluja! Happy Easter!