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Carrot Bread (Babka)

ingredients

14 oz (400 g) carrots
scant 1 oz (20 g) fresh yeast or 1/2 oz (10 g) dried yeast
1 lb 2 oz (500 g) strong white flour
3 eggs (at room temperature)
3 oz (80 g) butter, melted
3 1/2 oz (100 g) caster sugar
2 1/2 oz (70 g) flaked or slivered almonds
finely grated rind ofl lemon
vanilla essence
salt

serve with:

soured cream
Russian Beetroot Pate

method

1. Peel the carrots and grate very finely. Crumble the yeast into a small bowl containing 3 1/2 fl oz (100 ml) lukewarm water.

2. Sift half the flour (9 oz (250 g) into a large bowl; make a well in the centre and break 1 egg into it; add the stirred, dissolved yeast and work in by hand, adding the grated carrot. Knead for 5 - 10 minutes until elastic, then shape into a ball and leave to rise in the bowl in a warm place for 30 - 40 minutes, covered with a cloth that has been rinsed in hot water and wrung out.

3. When this dough has more than doubled in bulk, pour the melted butter over it, sift in the remaining flour and add the remaining eggs, the sugar, almonds, grated lemon rind and 2 - 3 drops of vanilla.

4. Work the dough very thoroughly. Knead for 5 - 10 minutes, shape into a large ball, cover the bowl with a warm, damp cloth and leave to rise once more in a warm place in the bowl, covered with a warm, damp cloth, for 1 hour.

5. Have the oven preheated to 350°F (180°C) mark 4.

6. Grease a ring mould with an outer diameter of 9 1/2 - 10 in (24.5 cm) with butter; shape the dough into a fat ring that will fit into it, distribute it evenly inside the mould and smooth the surface level.

7. Bake for 40 minutes or until the loaf is a deep russet colour on top and a skewer inserted deep into it comes out clean and dry. Take out of the oven and leave to stand for 5 minutes before unmoulding.

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