Ukrainian Christmas Cake (Perekladanets)



10 servings



Sweet Yeast Dough

1-1/2 cup warm milk (105 to 115°F)
2 pkg. active dry yeast
3/4 cup 1 plus tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 lg. egg yolks, beaten
8 tbsp. (1 stick each) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to warm
1 lemon
4-1/2 to 5 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Poppy Seed Filling

1 lg. egg white
2 cans (12-1/2 oz. each) Solo brand poppy seed filling

Date Filling

2 pkg. (8 oz. each) pitted dates, chopped
1-1/2 cup good-quality apricot preserves

Walnut Filling

3 lg. egg whites
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 lb. walnut pieces, ground


FOR THE SWEET YEAST DOUGH: In a large bowl, combine the milk, yeast, and the 1 tablespoon sugar. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add the egg yolks, butter, lemon zest, and 3/4 cup sugar and mix well with an electric mixer. Add 4 to 4 1/2 cups flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. the dough shouldn't be too thick but it also shouldn't stick to your hands.

Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 7 minutes, adding the remaining flour as necessary to prevent sticking.

Shape the dough into a ball. Place in a buttered bowl and turn to coat.
Cover with plastic wrap or linen or cotton cloth and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in bulk, about 1 1/4 hours. Punch down the dough; it is now ready to use or it will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

FOR THE POPPY SEED FILLING: In a large bowl, whisk the egg white until frothy. Stir in the poppy seed filling and mix well.

This is an easy-to-make poppy seed filling that uses commercially available Solo poppy seed filling, available in many supermarkets (look in the international section on the shelf with kosher products) and popular in many Ukrainian, Jewish, and Eastern European stores.

FOR THE DATE FILLING: In a medium-size bowl, stir the dates and preserves well to mix.

FOR THE WALNUT FILLING: In a large bowl, beat the egg whites with an electric mixer until soft peaks just begin to form. Add the sugar and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated.

Stir in the walnuts and mix thoroughly.

Divide the dough into four equal pieces. On a floured surface with a floured rolling pin, roll out one piece of dough into a 13 X 9 inch rectangle. It will be rather thin. Drape the rolled-out dough around a rolling pin and transfer to a large well greased baking sheet. Keep the remaining dough covered.

Spread the poppy seed filling on the dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border on all sides.

Roll out a second piece of dough in the same fashion and place on top of the poppy seed filling. Spread with the date filling.

Roll out a third piece of dough and place on the date filling. Spread with the walnut filling.

Roll out the remaining dough to a rectangle 1 inch large on all sides than the others. Place over the walnut filling and, bending the edges down, press them securely together with the edges of the bottom layer.

Cover with a paper towel and let stand in a warm, draft-free place until it has risen somewhat, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Prick the cake with a fork in several places. Brush with the egg wash and bake until cooked through, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Cool completely on a rack. This cake is better if allowed to rest for a day before serving. Wrap it in aluminum foil and place on the lowest shelf of the refrigerator. Serves 10.

Author's Comments

This is the traditional Ukrainian Christmas dessert. Rich and satisfying, it consists of four thin layers of yeast dough, each slathered with a typically Ukrainian filling--poppy seed, date, and walnut.

Similar Recipes

0 Recipe Reviews