Catholic Recipe: Coffee Braid
Also Called: Allerheiligen-Striezel
The feast of "the Blessed Virgin Mary and All Holy Martyrs" originated in Rome when Pope Boniface IV dedicated the former pagan temple of the Pantheon under that title in A.D. 610. From the eighth century on it came to be called "Feast of All Saints," and in 1484 it was raised to a holy day of obligation for the whole Church.
The favorite pastry for the feast is the "Saints Cake" baked as coffee bread for November 1 in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, among the Slavic nations, in Hungary, and in some Latin countries. In Italy, chestnut dishes are traditional in many localities.
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Reserve 10 minutes.
Stir in flour, salt, milk, 2/3 cup sugar, butter, egg yolk with yeast mixture until firm dough results. Add raisins; mix until smooth. Knead on floured board until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Let rise until double in size.
Form 4 rolls 2 inches thick, 2 rolls 1 inch thick, 2 rolls 1/2 inch thick. Gently and loosely braid 2-inch rolls, fastening strands at ends and tucking under. Place on lightly greased baking sheet; brush with egg white. Braid 1-inch rolls; place on top of large braid. Brush with egg white. Braid 1/2 inch rolls; place on top of medium braid. Brush with egg white: cover. Let rise 1 1/2 hours in warm place. Bake 50-60 minutes at 300°. Sprinkle with sugar, almonds.Recipe Source: Catholic Cookbook, The by William I. Kaufman, The Citadel Press, New York, 1965