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Fruited Easter Bread (Paasstol)

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Fruited Easter Bread (Paasstol)

Easter Bread

Photo © Karin Engelbrecht
My Paasstol is not strictly traditional, as I like to play around with the fruits and the liquor. I simply cannot help thinking that Dutch housewives of yesteryear stuck to raisins and currants only because they did not have access to all the wonderful dried fruits we can find today. Not that there is anything wrong with raisins and currants, I just do not see the need to use them exclusively. If you are a stickler for the traditional, use only raisins, currants and glace fruits and soak the fruits in brandy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups raisins (250 g)
  • 1 cup dried cherries (150 g)
  • 4 tbsp kirsch (or cherry brandy)
  • A pack of white bread mix
  • 2/3 cup warm water (150 ml)
  • 2/3 cup warm milk (150 ml)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp butter (25 g)
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup chopped candied lemon peel (50 g)
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (50 g)
  • 1/3 cup chopped hazelnuts (50 g)
  • 1 cup (tightly packed) 'spijs'/almond paste.(200 g)
  • 1 tbsp melted butter
  • Powdered sugar (icing sugar), to sift on top

Preparation:

Soak the raisins and cherries in the kirsch overnight. In a large mixing bowl, add the water, milk, butter, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon and lemon zest to the white bread mix. Knead for a few minutes (you can do this in a mixer with a dough attachment) until the dough forms a ball. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and rest for 10 minutes in a warmish place. Add the chopped candied lemon peel, nuts and the (drained) soaked fruits to the dough. Knead again.

Roll the almond paste into a log of approximately 10 inches (26 cm). I find it easiest to roll it into a sausage shape in plastic wrap and then it in the fridge while the dough is rising.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle with some flour. Place the dough on the parchment paper and form an oval shape of approximately 8 inches by 12 inches (20 x 30 cm). Place the almond paste roll lengthways down the center of the dough. Fold the dough over the almond paste lengthways, and gently pinch to seal. Cover the bread with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 392 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Brush the top of the bread with water and bake for approximately 45 minutes until brown. Allow to cool on a wire rack and brush with the melted butter. Dust with powdered sugar before serving the Easter bread in thick slices, slathered with real butter.

TIPS:

  • If you forgot to soak the fruit, simply put it in the microwave on high for 2 minutes and allow to cool.
  • I used Koopmans Mix voor Witbrood (1 lb/500 g), but you could use any bread mix for a standard sized loaf of white bread.
  • See my step by step guide to making almond paste. Freeze the almond paste you don't use - you can use it to make gevulde speculaas or gevulde koek.
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