We had a tough time deciding which one of these international Easter breads
to bake, but finally settled on a recipe from Slovenia. As soon as we mixed the dough and inhaled the intoxicating aroma of cardamom, citrus, almonds, and raisins, we knew we had made a delicious choice! This recipe for Slovenian velikonocni kruhki (velikonocni means "Easter" and kruhki means "small breads") comes from Barbara Rolek at About.com. Like many traditional Easter breads, these are sweet, but not overly so, and packed with historically precious ingredients. The thing that distinguishes them from most Easter breads is that they don't contain eggs (just an optional egg wash to brush the tops before baking). However, plenty of melted butter ensures the buns are still quite rich!
The recipe is straightforward and solid, though one should be aware that the total (active + inactive) time it takes to make these is longer than the stated prep time of 20 minutes and cook time of 30 minutes. It takes additional time to proof the yeast (10-20 minutes) and let the dough rise (variable depending upon ingredients and environment; it took ours about 1 1/2 hours). Bakers should also factor in the time it might take to grind the almonds and make candied citrus, if necessary.
For the citrus, we used a combination of of citrumelo and Meyer lemon, which was splendid. We also used the full 2 cups of raisins called for, but someone less enthusiastic about raisins could probably even halve the amount. One ingredient that really shouldn't be messed with is the cardamom; it's essential to the buns' sweet, heady flavor and aroma.
Get the recipe: Slovenian Easter Bread – Velikonocni Kruhki, from About.com
Related: Rich, Eggy, Sweet: Easter Breads Around the World
(Image: Emily Ho)