Romanian Almond Braid
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3-1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, stirred
1/3 cup sugar
1 package Quick Rise Yeast
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup butter or margarine, cut into small pieces
3 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup (3 ounces) almond paste
1/3 cup finely chopped toasted almonds
1 egg white
1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
In large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, dry yeast, lemon peel and salt. Heat milk, water and butter until 120-130 degrees F. Gradually add to dry ingredients. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed. Separate 1 egg; reserve egg white for almond filling. Add 1 egg yolk, 1 whole egg and 1/2 cup flour to batter. Beat 2 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead on floured surface until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover kneaded dough and let rest on floured surface 20 to 30 minutes. Punch down dough. Divide into three equal pieces. Roll each piece into a 24-by-4 inch rectangle. Spread 1/3 of almond filling over each rectangle to within 1/2 inch of edges.
For almond filling, combine almond paste, almonds, egg white and lemon peel. Stir with fork until smooth.
Beginning at long end, roll each rectangle up tightly as for jelly roll. Pinch seams and ends to seal. Braid ropes. Place in greased 10-inch tube pan; pinch ends to seal. Cover; let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Beat remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush over braid. Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan to cool completely. Glaze and decorate as desired. Serves 16.