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Recipe

Croatian Easter Bread with Citrus and Raisins

Yield: 2 loaves

Servings: 8

In this version of pinca, a Croatian bread, amaretto joins the traditional rum for soaking the raisins, adding a mellow sweetness to the fruit. The icing isn’t traditional but it’s very tasty, making this bread all the more addictive.

Ingredients

For the dough

  • 1/2 cup whole or 2 percent milk
  • 13 oz. (3 cups) bread flour; more for shaping
  • 1/4 oz. (1 packet) rapid-rise (instant) yeast
  • 3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, softened; more for the pan
  • 1-1/2 tsp. fine sea salt or table salt
  • 1 cup golden raisins, soaked in 1/4 cup each dark rum, amaretto, and hot water for 20 minutes, then drained
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. finely grated lemon zest
  • Nonstick cooking spray

For baking and icing

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs. whole milk; more as needed

 

Nutritional Information

  • Calories (kcal) : 470
  • Fat Calories (kcal): 140
  • Fat (g): 15
  • Saturated Fat (g): 8
  • Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 1
  • Monounsaturated Fat (g): 4.5
  • Cholesterol (mg): 125
  • Sodium (mg): 470
  • Carbohydrates (g): 69
  • Fiber (g): 2
  • Sugar (g): 30
  • Protein (g): 9

Preparation

Make the dough

  • In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil. Let cool until just warm (110°F), about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 1 cup of the flour with the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Stir in 1/2 cup very warm water (about 120°F), and form into a ball. Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap. Set the bowl in a warm spot until the mixture has visible bubbles on its surface, about 30 minutes.
  • Put the bowl in the mixer stand, and fit the mixer with the dough hook. On medium speed, beat in the egg yolks, sugar, butter, and salt, scraping the bowl occasionally. With the mixer running, add the milk and continue to beat until combined (it’s fine if there are a few lumps), about 2 minutes. Gradually add the remaining 2 cups flour. Raise the speed to medium-high, and knead until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. The dough will be soft and may not form a ball. Stop the mixer, add the raisins, vanilla extract, and lemon zest, and continue to mix until incorporated, 1 minute.
  • Lightly coat a bowl with the cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the bowl and cover with plastic. Let rise in a warm place until the dough is doubled in size, 60 to 75 minutes.

Shape and fill the dough

  • Stack two large rimmed baking sheets, and line the top pan with parchment. (Stacking the pans will prevent the bottom of the bread from overbrowning.)
  • Gently scrape the dough onto a lightly floured surface (try not to use more than 1 to 2 Tbs. of extra flour). Divide the dough in half, setting one of the pieces aside. With a bench scraper, divide the first piece of dough into three sections.

  • Roll and stretch each section to a 14-inch length, then fold it in half to make it 7 inches long.

  • Twist and stretch each section so that it’s 10 inches long.

  • Starting with one of the dough twists, twirl the dough into a round, attaching the other dough twists to continue building a round loaf. (For a taller, fuller bread, allow the dough to build up into two layers of twists near the center.) Tuck the final end under the dough. Repeat this process with the reserved dough to make a second loaf. Carefully transfer the two dough rounds to the prepared baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap, and set in a warm place until the dough rises by 50 to 75 percent, about 50 minutes.

Bake and ice the bread

  • Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 375°F.
  • Just before baking, whisk the egg with 1 Tbs. water in a small bowl, and use a pastry brush to brush the dough with the egg wash. Bake until a wooden skewer inserted into the center of the bread comes out with only dry crumbs and the top is a deep golden amber, 25 to 35 minutes. (If the loaves start browning too deeply during baking, cover them with foil halfway through.) Let cool 20 minutes.
  • Put the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl, and stir in the vanilla. Add enough of the milk to make a glaze. Drizzle the glaze over the warm bread. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. (Unglazed breads are good stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.)

Reviews

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Reviews (3 reviews)

  • cottoncandy | 04/13/2020

    Lovely fun and easy recipe! Super impressive to serve and tasted amazing!

  • meganharkey | 04/12/2020

    Made this for Easter 2020 and it was fantastic

  • jerry53 | 04/11/2020

    Easy recipe, tasted great.

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