Lithuanian Fruit Bread (Vaisiu Pyragas) Recipe

Christmas stollen with fruits and nuts
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  • 2 hrs
  • Prep: 60 mins,
  • Cook: 60 mins
  • Yield: 2 loaves (24 servings)
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This recipe for Lithuanian fruit bread or vaisiu pyragas features a sweet yeast-raised dough studded with either chopped glaceed fruits or mixed dried fruits, as I've used here. This can be considered the Lithuanian version of fruit cake but it's oh so much better than the type that gets passed around from family member to family member most Christmases.

What You'll Need

  • For the Dough:
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup sugar (divided)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk
  • 8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) butter (melted)
  • 3 large eggs (beaten)
  • 3/4 pound mixed glaceed fruit (or dried fruit, chopped fine)
  • 1 1/2 cups dark or light raisins
  • 2/3 cup walnuts (chopped)
  • Optional: 1/4 cup dark rum
  • For the Filling:
  • 2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter (melted)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon

How to Make It

  1. In a large bowl, mix yeast, 1/2 cup sugar, milk, 3 cups of the flour, and salt until smooth. Cover and let stand for 1 hour.
     
  2. Add 4 ounces melted butter, eggs, 1/2 cup sugar and remaining flour. Knead until smooth and elastic. Add chopped fruits, raisins, nuts and rum, if using, and knead until well incorporated. Cover and let rise until doubled.
     
  3. Divide dough in half and, on a lightly floured surface, roll each into a rectangle about 12 x 16 inches. Spread each with melted butter and sugar mixed with cinnamon. Roll up lengthwise, tuck in ends and place in 2 large greased loaf pans. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cover pans with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.
     
  1. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 50 minutes longer. Turn out onto wire rack to cool completely. Dust with confectioners' sugar or drizzle with flat icing, if desired.