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Pasca (Romanian Easter Cake)

Ingredients

For the dough:

  • 1 cup milk warm
  • 1 tablespoon yeast
  • 3 eggs lightly beaten
  • 6 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter melted and cooled
  • 1 tablespoon canola or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • zest from 1/2 lemon
  • 4 to 5 cups flour

For the filling:

  • 1 8 ounce brick of cream cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup raisins

For the egg wash:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, combine milk and yeast. Allow to sit until foamy. Using a wooden spoon stir in eggs, sugar, butter, oil, salt, vanilla extract, and lemon zest. Add in flour 1/2 cup at a time until the dough comes together in a ball. It should be soft but not sticky. Put down on a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Spray another large bowl with oil and place ball of dough in, turning to coat in oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.
  2. When dough has risen, divide into 2 equal pieces. Lightly spray a 9 inch springform pan with oil. Take one of the dough pieces and roll it out to fit in the springform. (I found it easiest to put the dough in the pan and use my fingertips to spread the dough, like you would with focaccia). With the other half of the dough, divide it into 3 equal pieces. Roll those pieces out into long thin ropes and braid them all together. Once it’s braided, gently move it to the springform, braiding the end together. Allow to rise just high enough for you to put filling in, 30 - 45 minutes.
  3. Preheat oven to 400.
  4. To make filling, beat cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla together until the cream cheese is smooth. Fold in raisins. Gently spoon into the bread.
  5. Whisk together egg and water. Brush the mixture over the top of the braided bread. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes or until deeply brown and it sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from pan shortly after and allow to cool on a wire rack.