Gramma Skopek’s Holiday Hoska

This second-place winner in the 2010 Vegetarian Times Recipe Contest comes from Sarah Skopek Kohlstedt, who went on a mission to find the recipe after her Gramma Skopek passed away. “My dad’s side of the family is Czech, and his mom’s hoska had always been his favorite of all the holiday treats she made,” Sarah explains. She contacted two aunts to find the original recipe, which she made and mailed to her dad: “He called immediately to thank me. I could hear the huge smile on his face.”

5 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2  large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
4 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup golden seedless raisins
1/2 cup chopped or slivered almonds
1  large egg yolk
 powdered sugar, for dusting
Dissolve yeast in one cup warm water and set aside.

Combine butter and sugar in bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Blend in eggs, salt, nutmeg, and lemon zest. Alternately mix in yeast mixture and flour, adding more flour, if necessary, so that the dough is elastic but not too sticky. Shape dough into ball, cover with towel, and let rise 1 hour.

Knead raisins and almonds into dough. Divide in half, then divide each half into six equal pieces (you should have 12 pieces). Roll three dough pieces into 1/2-inch-thick ropes. Braid together on floured work surface, pinching together braid at both ends. Repeat until you have four braids.

Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place two braids on baking sheet. Place remaining two braids on top, so there are two double-stacked loaves. Cover with towel, and let rise one hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water in bowl. Brush loaves with egg wash. Bake 40 to 50 minutes, or until golden brown.

Serve warm, dusted with powdered sugar.

Ease of Preparation: Moderate

Preparation Time: 45 min
plus 1 hr resting

Cook Time: 40-50 min

Servings: Makes 2 loaves

Recipe By: Sarah Skopek Kohlstedt

From: Vegetarian Times 2010 Reader Recipe Contest

Nutrition Facts
As prepared, each serving contains 239 calories, 9g total fat, 55mg cholesterol, 157mg sodium, 36g total carbohydrate and 6g protein.