Braid a bread with fruit and nuts Tradition: From an old cookbook comes a recipe for a three-level holiday loaf studded with almonds and raisins.

Recipe Finder

September 17, 1997|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,SUN STAFF

In today's Recipe Finder column in the A La Carte section, the amount of butter listed for the braided bread Houska is incorrect. The correct amount is 1/2 cup.

The Sun regrets the error.

This braided bread, lovely to look at and heaven to taste, is well worth baking any day of the year. It is also a Christmas specialty.

Lillian V. H. Elsezy of Baltimore says she wants to make Houska bread "at least one more time. For years, I made this braided bread from memory but the years, about 40, have taken a toll, and I need a recipe. Hope you can help."


Chef Kent Rigby chose the recipe from Kenneth J. Gall of Fallston, who wrote that his recipe came from one of "nine cookbooks in my collection, books that are fund-raising, plastic-spiral-bound cookbooks. One of them, from 1940, belonged to my mother."

The recipe in his book was from Mary Jane Kubicek Bear of Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Grandma Kubicek's Houska

Makes 2 large braided loaves

2 cakes (0.06 ounces each) yeast

1/4 cup lukewarm water

1 cup milk, scalded

1/2 cup sugar

2 1/2 tablespoons butter

2 eggs

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind

1/4 teaspoon mace

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 1/2 to 5 cups flour

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup almonds

1 cup mixed candied fruits

1 egg yolk

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Dissolve yeast in water. Pour scalded milk over sugar and butter. Add eggs, lemon rind, mace, salt, 2 cups of flour and then the yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Add 2 more cups of flour and let rise until double in bulk. Add raisins, almonds and candied fruit with a little flour sprinkled over them. Turn out onto floured board and knead the rest of the flour into the dough. Divide dough in 2 equal pieces and divide each half into 6 equal pieces. Set one-half aside.

For one loaf, roll 3 of the 6 pieces into strips about 14 inches long each. Place them on a large greased baking sheet and form into a braid. Take 2 pieces and roll into 12-inch long strips and twist gently together; place them on top of the bottom braided strip. Form remaining dough into a 10-inch strip. Twist and drape it along the top of the loaf. Let loaf rise until light. Combine egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water and gently brush top of loaves. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until well browned. Repeat for second loaf.

Rigby notes that pressing a small groove lengthwise on top of the bottom and middle braids will help secure braids in place. He also says that a whole egg beaten with the water may be used to brush top of loaf, but he prefers the yolk only.

Josephine W. Woodell of Cavendish, Vt., requested a recipe for peanut-butter cups, and Nicole C. Ficca of Baltimore responded.

Ficca's peanut-butter cups

Makes 36 candy cups

2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

1 1/2 cups smooth peanut butter

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound semisweet chocolate

36 (1 3/8 -inch) paper candy cups

vTC Combine sugar, peanut butter and butter with an electric mixer. Beat on medium-low until well blended. Melt chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. Use a small spoon or brush to coat insides of paper cups with the melted chocolate, reserving approximately 1/4 of the chocolate for topping.

Transfer cups to a rimmed baking sheet and put in freezer for 10 to 15 minutes. Leave the chocolate for topping over hot water with heat turned off. Remove cold cups from freezer and fill with peanut butter filling about three-quarters full. Spoon melted chocolate into each cup to cover peanut butter and return to freezer until set, 15 to 25 minutes.

Recipe requests

Veronica Patrick of Millersville is seeking a "baked summer yellow squash recipe like that served at the Black-Eyed Pea Restaurant. It has some sort of thickening and is slightly sweet."

Susan Marie of Forest Hill writes that she has been looking for a rice salad recipe. "At one time it was on the back of an Uncle Ben's rice box. It is a cold salad that included radishes and celery."

Chefs Gilles Syglowski and Kent Rigby, with the help of chefs and students at the Baltimore International College, tested these recipes.

Pub Date: 9/17/97

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.