Russian immigrants gloried in Easter babkas - enriched yeast breads studded with dried fruits and nuts. For a more traditional babka, omit the amaretto and use dried sour cherries and candied cherries in place of cranberries and raisins.
Cooking Light JANUARY 2004
To prepare dough, combine cranberries and amaretto in a small bowl; set aside. Heat milk over medium-high heat in a small, heavy saucepan to 180° or until tiny bubbles form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat; stir in sour cream. Cool to room temperature.
Dissolve yeast in warm water, and let stand 5 minutes. Place 1/2 cup granulated sugar, eggs, and egg yolks in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until thick and pale (about 2 minutes). Add milk mixture, yeast mixture, 1 teaspoon almond extract, and salt; beat until well blended.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add 5 1/2 cups flour to egg mixture; stir until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes); add enough of remaining flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands (dough will feel tacky).
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.) Punch dough down; cover and let rest 10 minutes.
Coat a 12-cup Bundt pan with cooking spray; dust with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Knead cranberry mixture, raisins, and almonds into dough. With floured hands, pat dough into an 8-inch circle. Form a 2-inch hole in center of dough; place dough in prepared pan, allowing center of Bundt pan to emerge through hole in dough. Gently press the dough into pan. Lightly coat top of dough with cooking spray; cover and let rise 45 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 350°.
Uncover dough. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until loaf is browned and sounds hollow when tapped. Cool in pan 5 minutes on a wire rack.
To prepare icing, combine powdered sugar, 1/4 cup milk, and 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, stirring with a whisk. Remove babka from pan, and place on a serving platter. Drizzle with icing; cool completely.
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