Sweet Easter Bread or Ka’ek for the upcoming feast

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Kaak, Sweet Easter Bread, Kaak

Easter is almost here.  One of my favourite treats is Ka’ek or Easter Sweet Bread.  We just can’t get enough of it in our house. This recipe is from the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church.

My Tete (grandmother) made them for us every year.  As with most recipes, it was taught to my mother.  The women in our family would gather and tackle the large quantities this recipe yields together in preparation for the Easter feast.  It was more than a cooking day, it was a day to spend with my cousins getting into mischief until we could eat until our bellies ached.

My mother has since cut the recipe in half to make it more manageable. Enjoy!!

Easter Sweet Bread

Ka’ek or Eastere Sweet Bread is one of my favourite Easter treats.

17 cups flour (2.2 kg)

2 pkg. or 1/4 lb. fresh yeast

1/2 cup warm water

1 tsp sugar

3 cups sugar

1/2 cup shortening or 1 cup oil

1 lb. unsalted butter

4 cups milk

2 Tbsp black cherry kernels (Mahlab) finely ground (available @ Adonis)

3 Tbsp anise seed, finely ground

2 Tbsp. Marjoram, finely ground

1 recipe Cream Dip 

  1. Dissolvee yeast and 1 tsp. Sugar in warm water.  Set aside for approximately 10 minutes
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, remaining sugar and spices
  3. Heat milk and butter until warm.
  4. Add yeast mixture and milk (a little at a time) to flour and mix well until blended.
  5. Add oil or shortening and knead well for about 10 minutes. Cover with plastic warp and damp tea towel and place in a warm area to rise until double in bulk (2-3 hours)
  6. When dough has risen, punch down and pinch into balls 2” in diameter. Place on flat surface and let rest for 15 minutes.
  7. Pat out each ball to 1/4” thickness. Make a design on the top of each cake by pressing with a fancy-cut-glass dish or specially designed Ka’ek board.
  8. Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and bak in preheated 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes until bottoms are golden brown.  Place under broiler to brown tops lightly.
  9. Cool on wire rack and dip cooled cakes into warm cream dip.

Cream Dip

4 cups cream (table cream, preferably)

1/2 lb unsalted butter

2 cups sugar

1 tsp orange blossom (optional, I don’t use this)

3 heaping Tbsp. Corn starch (if necessary)

  1. Combine all ingredients except corn starch in saucepan and cook over medium heat, until consistency of a thin custard sauce.
  2. If dip does not thicken, add corn, starch and continue to cook until thick.

Cakes may be made ahead and frozen before dipping, or dipped in sauce and then frozen.

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