Romanian Cozonac with Ricotta Filling

Try making this traditional Easter bread

Romanian cozonac with ricotta filling (Easter bread). Photo / Babiche Martens.

Romanian cozonac with ricotta filling (Easter bread)

Serves 12

• ½ cup hot milk
• 1 Tbsp active yeast
• 1 tsp sugar
• ½ cup warm milk
• 420g flour
• ¾ cup caster sugar
• Zest of 1 lemon
• 2 Tbsp rum
• 1 tsp vanilla essence
• 1Tbsp oil
• ½ cup raisins
• 25g butter

• 400g ricotta
• 25g softened butter
• ¼ cup sugar
• 3 large egg yolks
• 1 Tbsp cornflour
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1 Tbsp rum
• ¼ cup raisins
• 1 egg yolk for brushing top

1. Place the warm milk into a small bowl. Mix the yeast and sugar, then sprinkle onto the milk. Stand in a warm place for 10 minutes until frothy and bubbly.

2. In the bowl of a mixer beat the second quantity of milk with the eggs and sugar. Add the zest, rum, vanilla and oil. Slowly add the flour.

Continue to knead for 8-10 minutes. If you are doing this by hand, knead for 15 minutes. Knead the raisins and butter in during the last few minutes. Place into a clean greased bowl. Cover and leave in a warm place until it has doubled in size.

3. Punch down dough and knead for a further 5-10 minutes.

4. Grease a 25cm cake tin. Take ¼ of the dough and roll to 1cm thickness and line bottom of tin. With remainder of dough divide into 3. Roll each piece into an 80cm long rope. Plait together, then place in tin around edge on top of base. Cover and return to a warm place for 40 minutes while you make the filling.

5. Preheat oven to 180C.

6. To make filling, combine ricotta, butter, sugar, yolks, flour, vanilla, rum and raisins in a bowl and mix well.

7. Pour filling into centre of the dough, ensuring it doesn't go over the edges. Bake in the oven for 1 hour. Cover with tinfoil after 30 minutes if getting too brown. Cool in tin for 30 minutes before removing and enjoying.

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