Monday, December 14, 2015

Krendl - Russian/ Ukranian Fruit Filled Bread - We Knead to Bake -34

The year 2015 seems to have gone in a flash and soon we will be bidding goodbye and ushering a new year in. It was a year was a mixed bag for me and the family. While there were personal loses and eventful holidays, the shock of seeing nature at her worst gave me more sadness. My home state seem to have taken the wrath at its fullest. The loss of life and devastation has left many of us numb. We can only hope and pray for all those who have suffered. I hope it will not be a year that will be remembered only with these nightmarish memories.
That said, December is dotted with many happy occasions among my friends and family. Though we do not observe Christmas in its spirit, we enjoy the season that brings joy of giving. I attempt to bake, keeping up with tradition. It is not much to boast about, I must confess.
Aparna tries her best to get us, the We Knead to Bake group friends, to bake some fabulous breads to mark special festivals. This Christmas we are baking a very festive bread, the Ukranian Fruit Bread called Krendl. This bread has the texture of bread and tastes like fruit cake was the comment my husband had to suggest when tasted the same.
Aparna shares the following information on these breads:

"The Krendel is a Russian/ Ukrainian Christmas bread shaped like a large pretzel and  filled with a mixture of fresh apples and dried fruits that is lightly covered with a sugar glaze or a dusting of icing sugar. The Krendl is also served on birthdays or what were more important and called name days.

In Russian orthodox tradition, the name day is an important occasion and often celebrated instead of a birthday. The name day, considered a holy day, is the feast day of the saint after whom a person is named and it is observed with a visit to the church and ends with a celebration party. The highlight is always the serving of the pretzel shaped, fruit filled Krendl. At Christmas time the Krendl celebrates the birth of Jesus.

Krendel is thought to be of German origin and the name is supposedly a corruption of the German Kringle which is a cookie. The Krendl, like a lot of European celebratory yeasted breads is made from enriched dough. The filling is typically fresh apples and dried fruit like apricots and prunes cooked to a jam like consistency with some spice."
The following recipe uses figs, prunes and apricots along with apples. I had not found dried figs this season though I always have found them in the dry fruits aisle in my local store. I had cranberries from a friend and hence used them, just as Aparna had done.
The list of ingredients, the procedure may be seemingly elaborate. But with a little planning, it can be done fairly easy. I am glad that I chose to make the glaze. The tart taste of the lemon rind adds more flavour. 

Krendel (Russian/ Ukrainian Fruit Filled Bread)
Adapted from

Makes about 20 slices.

For the Dough:
2 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup cream
1/2 cup lukewarm milk
50gram butter, softened
1 egg ( I have substituted with 1 tablespoon extra cream plus 1/4 cup milk)
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
2-3/4 to 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling:
1 cup apple juice
2 large apples, peeled and chopped
1/3 cup finely chopped dried figs (optional) ( I added dried cranberries)
1/3 cup finely chopped dried apricots
2/3 cup chopped prunes
15 gram (1tbsp) butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon chai masala (optional)

For Spreading Over the Dough:
25gram butter, soft at room temperature
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon

For the Glaze*:
8 gram (1/2 tbsp) butter
1/2 tablespoon hot water
3/4 to 1 cup icing sugar
1/4 tsp finely grated lemon rind/ peel

*If you are not interested in the glaze, you might just dust the top of the bread with icing sugar

1/4 cup sliced almonds for garnishing

In a small bowl mix honey lukewarm milk and the instant yeast. Allow the yeast to proof.
In a large bowl or in that of your processor, place softened butter, vanilla, eggs or the substitutes, cream, salt, the yeast mixture and 1-1/2 cups of flour. Whisk until they combine well. Add the rest of the flour (of the 2-3/4 cups) and knead to a smooth soft yet sticky dough. Add just as much flour required to obtain a smooth, elastic dough which is a bit sticky.
Turn it on to a dusted work surface and knead for a further 6 to 8 minutes until the dough is soft, smooth and elastic. Roll it in a ball and place it in a slightly oil smeared bowl, turning the dough to coat with oil. Cover and let the dough rise and double in volume. This may take an hour and a half to some more minutes.
Meanwhile prepare the filling.
In a wide sauce pan, add all the ingredients except the chai masala. Heat them to a boil and cook on reduced heat until they come to a jam consistency. Add the chai masala, mix and turn off the heat. Allow this filling to cool completely.

Take the risen dough, deflate gently. Roll the dough in a rough large rectangle.
Spread the softened butter on the surface leaving about an inch along the edges of all the sides.
Mix sugar and cinnamon powder and smear well over the butter spread dough.
Spread the cooled filling over this.
Roll the dough in a Swiss roll like roll from the long side of the rectangle. Pinch the seam to seal well and the sides as well.
Shape the rolled dough in a large pretzel shape.
Place it on a greased baking sheet/ tray.
Loosely cover and leave it to puff up well for 30 minutes to 45 minutes.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes on a pre heated 180 degrees C/350 degrees F oven until golden on top.

To prepare the glaze, mix the ingredients and whisk in a lump free solution. Add little more hot water as necessary. Pour over the bread, garnish with toasted sliced almonds and allow it to cool.
Cut in desired slices and enjoy.
We are all posting this bread at earlier dates than our usual the 24th of the month for our readers who want to try and enjoy.
Please check Aparna's post here to see what other members ave shared.

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