This traditional Easter loaf from the Netherlands is filled with a sweet almond paste and studded with golden raisins and candied lemon.
Yields 1 (6 x 15-inch) loaf for 12 servings
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk
1 package dry active yeast
2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup finely ground blanched almonds
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 cup golden raisins
2 tablespoons chopped candied lemon peel
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
Make the dough: Coat a large bowl with oil and set aside.
Warm 1 cup of milk to 110 degrees F in a small saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the yeast and the 1 tablespoon of sugar and let stand until bubbly.
In a large bowl or the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the flour and cardamom. Add the whole eggs, butter and yeast mixture and pulse to combine. Process the mixture or stir with a wooden spoon until a firm, sticky dough forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface, knead lightly, shape it into a ball, and transfer it to the prepared bowl, turning to coat all sides with oil. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in volume - about 40 minutes.
Make the almond paste: Place the almonds, remaining sugar, egg yolks and lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and process into a firm paste. Place the almond paste on a 20-inch-long piece of plastic wrap. Roll the paste up lengthwise in the plastic wrap, twist the ends to seal, and shape the paste into a log about 1 inch thick and 12 inches long and refrigerate.
Shape the loaf: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Punch down the dough and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Place the raisins, lemon peel and zest in the center of the dough and knead until they are incorporated and the dough is smooth. Roll the dough into a 6 x 13-inch rectangle. Unwrap the almond paste and place it lengthwise in the center of the dough. Fold the dough over the paste and pinch to seal. Place the loaf, seal-side down, on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover the loaf and allow it to rise until it doubles in volume - about 30 minutes.
Bake the bread: Glaze the loaf with the remaining milk and bake for 10 minutes in the center of the oven. Reduce temperature to 325 degrees F and bake until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped - 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve at room temperature.
Nutritional value per individual serving: Calories: 322 Total Fat: 8.4 g Cholesterol: 79 mg Sodium: 26.2 mg Carbohydrates: 54.7 g Fiber: 2.6 g Protein: 8.2 g