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Paska | Ukrainian Easter Bread With Apricots and Marzipan

A slice being cut from baked Paska
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Is it a fruit-studded French Brioche? Is it an Italian Panettone? Nobody can resist this beautifully fluffy, buttery Paska! Paska is a traditional Ukrainian Easter Bread, versions of which are enjoyed all across Eastern Europe. We’ve made an egg, milk and butter enriched dough, studded it with sultanas, dried apricots and marzipan to make it even more special and baked it in a round cake tin just as Ukrainians do!

We were saving this recipe for Easter, but simply could not wait much longer, and had to post it as soon as possible! Easter, of course, is still more than a month away, but we believe today is the right time to make this delicious Ukrainian sweet bread and enjoy it ahead of time!

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How Is Our Paska Different?

Traditionally, Paska is made with either raisins or by simply adding some vanilla essence. However, we decided to put our own little spin on it (and maybe made it a little more British, in a way) by adding little cubes of marzipan (that is a reference to Simnel Cake) and some dried apricots (that we heavily use in our Easter Bakes!).

Ukrainian Easter Bread is baked and ready to serve

Ingredients

  • flour: since Paska is more of a bread than it is a cake, we recommend using strong bread flour in this recipe.
  • fast-action yeast: alternatively, you can use dried yeast, but make sure to activate it in warm milk first.
  • sugar: caster sugar or white granulated sugar.
  • milk: paska works best with dairy milk. Make sure to have an extra splash for egg wash.
  • eggs: medium in the UK, or large in the US. You will need 2 eggs for paska plus an egg yolk for egg wash.
  • butter: unsalted softened butter is needed here. Make sure you have some extra for greasing the tin.
  • cardamom: optional, but recommended.
  • sultanas: can be substituted with raisins.
  • dried apricots: generally, use any dried fruit you like, but we think that the apricot and marzipan combination is a winner!
  • marzipan: white and golden will work here.
Ingredients for paska on a wooden chopping board.

How to Make Ukrainian Easter Bread?

In a bowl of your stand mixer, mix together strong flour, yeast, sugar and a pinch of salt. Make a well in the middle and add the eggs and milk. Start running your mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment on low speed until the ingredients are combined. Increase the speed to medium and keep kneading until the dough starts to look cohesive – about 5 minutes.

Cut your room temperature butter into thin slivers. With the mixer running, add one sliver of butter at a time and carry on until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough looks glossy. This will take about 10 minutes. Your dough will be sticky, but it should gather around the dough hook.

Grease a large bowl with some butter or brush it with oil and pop a ball of dough into it. Cover with a tea towel or cling film and leave to proof in a warm spot until it doubles in size, for approx. 2 hours.

In the meantime, grease an 18cm (7in) springform cake tin with butter and then line the bottom with baking parchment. Cut a long strip of baking parchment and line the sides, so the baking parchment sticks upwards from the tin by at least 10 cm. Use good quality, sturdy baking parchment. You may use a larger tin for a wider, but less tall bake, if you wish. I wouldn’t suggest using a tin larger than 23cm (9in) in diameter. You can equally successfully make paska in a panettone mould.

In a small bowl, mix the sultanas, cut up dried apricots and marzipan cubes.

Once doubled, cut about 1/4 of the dough off and set aside. Stretch the remaining dough into a rectangle and scatter half of the sultana, dried apricot and marzipan mix. Roll it up and knead gently, then stretch it out again and scatter the rest of the fruit and marzipan. Roll the dough up again and knead it into a ball. Place it into a prepared cake tin and using your hands press it down to cover the whole base in even thickness.

Take the reserved 1/4 of the dough and divide it into two. With the palms of your hands, roll each piece into 54cm (21in) string (or the length of the circumference of your tin). Interweave the two strings like a rope, then place it in a circle alongside the inner edge of the cake tin on top of the dough already in it.

Place the tin in a bag (to stop it drying out), make sure it is loosely covered, and leave it in a warm spot for 1.5 hours until it doubles in size.

Preheat the oven to 180° C Fan. In a small bowl, mix egg yolk and a tbsp of milk. Gently brush your Easter Bread with the egg wash and place in the preheated oven for 40-45 min. Check the bread after 35 minutes to make sure it is not browning too quickly. Once baked, the internal temperature of the Ukrainian Easter Bread should be around 88°C.

The bread is baked and is cooling on a wire rack

Other Easter Cakes and Bakes

For other Easter recipes, have a look at some of our favourites below:

A slice being cut from baked Paska

Paska | Ukrainian Easter Bread With Apricots and Marzipan

Is it a fruit-studded French Brioche? Is it an Italian Panettone? Nobody can resist this beautifully fluffy, buttery Paska! Paska is a traditional Ukrainian Easter Bread, versions of which are enjoyed all across Eastern Europe. We've made an egg, milk and butter enriched dough, studded it with sultanas, dried apricots and marzipan to make it even more special and baked it in a round cake tin just as Ukrainians do!
5 from 8 votes
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 40 mins
Proving Time: 3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 40 mins
Course Baking, Bread, Dessert
Cuisine Ukrainian
Servings 12 -16 slices
Calories 269 kcal

Ingredients
 
 

  • 400 g strong white flour
  • 7 g fast-action yeast
  • 40 g sugar
  • 175 ml milk
  • 2 eggs medium
  • 100 g butter softened + extra for greasing
  • 1/8 tsp cardamom
  • 110 g sultanas
  • 75 g dried apricots chopped
  • 40 g marzipan cut into small cubed

For Egg Wash:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tbsp milk

Instructions
 

  • In a bowl of your stand mixer, mix together strong flour, yeast, sugar and a pinch of salt. Make a well in the middle and add eggs and milk. Start running your mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment on low speed until the ingredients are combined. Increase the speed to medium and keep kneading until the dough starts to look cohesive – about 5 minutes.
  • Cut your room temperature butter into thin slivers. With the mixer running, add one sliver of butter at a time and carry on until the butter is fully incorporated and the dough looks glossy. This will take about 10 minutes. Your dough will be sticky, but it should gather around the dough hook.
  • Grease a large bowl with some butter or brush it with oil and pop a ball of dough into it. Cover with a tea towel or cling film and leave to proof in a warm spot until it doubles in size, approx 2 hours.
  • In the meantime, grease an 18cm (7in) springform cake tin with butter and then line the bottom with baking parchment. Cut a long strip of baking parchment and line the sides, so the baking parchment sticks upwards from the tin by at least 10 cm. Use good quality, strong and sturdy baking parchment. You may use a larger tin for a wider, but less tall bake, if you wish. I would;t suggest using a tin larger than 23cm (9in) in diameter. Alternatively, you can make Ukrainian Paska in Panettone moulds.
  • In a small bowl, mix the sultana, dried apricots and marzipan cubes.
  • Once doubled, cut about 1/4 of the dough off and set aside. Stretch the remaining dough into a rectangle and scatter half of the sultana, dried apricot and marzipan mix. Roll it up and knead gently, then stretch it out again and scatter the rest of the fruit and marzipan. Roll the dough up again and knead it into a ball. Place it into a prepared cake tin and using your hands press it down to cover the whole base in even thickness.
  • Take the reserved 1/4 of the dough and divide it into two. Roll each piece into 54cm (21in) string (or the length of the circumference of your tin). Interweave the two strings like a rope, then place it in a circle alongside the inner edge of the cake tin on top of the dough already in it.
  • Place the tin in a bag (to stop it drying out), make sure it is loosely covered, and leave it in a warm spot for 1½ hours until it doubles in size.
  • Preheat the oven to 180° C Fan. In a small bowl, mix egg yolk and a tbsp of milk. Gently brush your Easter Bread with the egg wash and place in the preheated oven for 40-45 min. Check the bread after 35 minutes to make sure it is not browning too quickly. Once baked, the internal temperature of the Ukrainian Easter Bread should be around 88°C.
  • Leave the bread to cool for a couple of hours before slicing! It is best eaten on the same day. The next day you may enjoy it with some butter or clotted cream!

Nutrition

Calories: 269kcalCarbohydrates: 41gProtein: 6gFat: 9gSaturated Fat: 5gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 46mgSodium: 80mgPotassium: 216mgFiber: 2gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 489IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 39mgIron: 1mg
Keyword Easter Baking, Easter Bread Recipe, Easter Bread with Apricots, Easter Bread with Marzipan, Easter Paska, Ukrainian Bread Recipe, Ukrainian Paska, Ukrainian Recipes
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

15 Replies to “Paska | Ukrainian Easter Bread With Apricots and Marzipan”

  1. 5 stars
    My Ukrainian friend in Kuwait made once this Paska bread, and it was really delicious. Can’t wait to make this for my family.

    1. Really hope you like it as much as you did the one your friend made 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I’m so happy that you didn’t wait to publish this recipe. What is happening in Ukraine is truly tragic and I want to help and support these amazing, strong, and courageous people. This recipe is so delicious. Thank you!

  3. 5 stars
    What a beautiful and festive bread. Love all the flavors in it too!

    1. Thanks, Andrea! Definitely our Easter favourite! 🙂

  4. 5 stars
    Thank you for posting now, I can practice it before Easter! Great instructions and tips – thank you!

    1. Thank you, Tracy! We are definitely making another one for Easter this year! 🙂

  5. 5 stars
    What a perfect recipe for Easter. Love the combo. Thanks for sharing

  6. 5 stars
    What a gorgeous bread! So excited to try this recipe for Easter!

    1. We think it’s a wonderful Easter breakfast treat! 🙂

  7. 5 stars
    I’ve bookmarked this bread to make for Easter. Looks gorgeous and so deliciouus. Thank you!

    1. Thanks, Keri! Let me know what you think once you try it 🙂 We really hope you like it as much as we do!

  8. 5 stars
    This is SO pretty! What a beautiful Ukrainian Easter treat – delicious.

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