Catholic Recipe: All Saints' Cakes
Also Called: Heiligenstriezel; Strucel Swiateczne; Mindszenti Kalacska
On All Saints' Day in some parts of Europe, this festive cake is baked. It is a sweet dough, made of braided strands. These "All Saints' Cakes are called Heiligenstriezel in German, Strucel Swiateczne in Polish, Mindszenti Kalacska in Hungarian.
The next day, the same dough is used to make figures. Boys receive a cake in the shape of a hare, and the girls are given a cake in the shape of a hen. (This is an interesting combination of fertility symbols and "spirit bread".)
Dissolve yeast cakes in 1/2 cup of the milk. Make thin sponge by mixing yeast with rest of milk and 1 cup of flour. Mix thoroughly, sprinkle top lightly with flour and set aside to rise. Add salt to egg yolks, beat until thick and lemon-colored. Add sugar, rinds, and mix with sponge. Add two cups of flour, alternating with the milk, and knead for half-hour.
Add remaining flour and butter and continue to knead until the dough comes away from the hand. Set in warm place to rise until double in bulk. Separate dough into four parts, roll into long strips and braid into loaf. Brush top with lightly beaten egg yolk and sprinkle with poppy seed. Let rise. Bake in 350° oven for one hour.Recipe Source: Holyday Book, The by Francis X. Weiser, S.J., Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc., New York, 1956