Easter Panettone Recipe (Moldovan Style)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Easter is a huge holiday in Moldova, which, if you're new here, is where I am from and where I lived until 4 years ago when my (american) husband and I moved to the US. Anyway, back to Easter in Moldova...I could say that it is a holiday bigger than Christmas. I remember dearly all the wonderful times spent with family on Easter. No bunnies, no Easter Egg Hunts, but certainly plenty of other traditions, many of which are food related.

Today I am sharing a must have for a Moldovan Easter and a new favorite of 
my American side of the family. 

It is a mix between the American pound cake and the Italian Panettone, and we call it 'Cozonac'. It is super yummy, but super difficult to make. I know it took my mom days to prepare for this. I've never actually attempted to make one myself using my grandma's recipe, but here's one I adapted from the Italian Panetonne recipe over at the Food Network. 

I didn't have the right form for this, so I just used regular loaf pans.

Difficulty: medium
Prep time: 30 min
Inactive time: 2 hours
Cooking time: 35 min
Yield: 2 loaves


Dried Fruits
1/2 cup diced candied orange peel
3/4 cup dried cherries
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup diced dried apricots
Dough ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp active dry yeast
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 tsp salt 
Mixing and finishing ingredients
1 cup of whole milk
1 stick of butter
¼ cup honey
2 tbs grated lemon zest
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

step by step
1. Place the dried fruits and dough ingredients into a bowl.
2. Heat 1 cup whole milk, 1 stick butter, 1/4 cup honey and 2 tablespoons grated lemon zest in a saucepan, until all the ingredients are homogenized and are about 120 degrees. Pour and stir into the dry mix in the bowl.
3. Lightly beat 2 eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, add to the dough and mix.
4. Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
5. Butter two 5-by-9-inch loaf pans and line with parchment paper.
6. Separate the dough into two equal parts and place them in your pans; cover and let rise 1 hour.
8. Whisk 1 egg with a little bit of milk, and brush your loves conservatively (as in don't dump the whole egg mixture on top; we don't want burnt omelet on top). 
7. Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 55 minutes.
Cool before slicing.

If you attempt this recipe and it doesn't turn out well, please don't hate me. I am not a baker, and I hate following exact measurements. I didn't use exact measurements for any of the dried fruit, sugar or honey. I also, added extra flour when the dough was too thin, or water when it was too thick. I just worked it until it wasn't sticking to my fingers.

What Easter Traditions does your family have that you love?


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  1. I wouldn't have thought, that Moldovan traditions are less similar to our Germans than he American, as Moldavia is closer to us… But we here have all the bunnies and easter egg hunting!

    Your recipe for Cozonac sounds really good, I have to try it some day. I'm just fear, I won't have any time for it before easter!

    Love, Midsommarflicka

    1. I think it's a western tradition and really since you cross into Eastern Europe some traditions are significantly different, partly because of cultural developmental reasons, but mostly because of Russian influence.

      Thank you for stopping by. Always love it when I have fellow Europeans reading my blog; it reminds me to not forced where I came from and incorporate more of that into this lil ole blog.

    2. …just came back here ;)

      Yeah, now if I think about it, it makes perfectly sense, that it's different in eastern and western Europe. Especially since we've been separated for such a long time! Maybe people that grew up in the old GDR know some traditions that are closer to yours…

      Lovely regards from good old europe! :)

  2. That looks delicious! I always love the Italian version at Christmas but it's hard to find for sale any other time of the year- I'm not a great baker, but I'd love to try this- and the directions are so clearly written- thanks for sharing!

  3. Iuliana,

    So I was avoiding studying today and ended up flipping through some posts on Our Best Bites when I happened to glance at the comments on one of them and there you were describing a dream. I couldn't imagine that there were two Iuliana B's in the world so I clicked on your name and it took me here. How random! Your site is very cute and you are much more talented at crafts than I am. I'll have to try making this recipe. I long for cozonac every Easter since I came home. If you ever translate (or convert) the Moldovan recipe let me know.

    Sora Hanks (I don't know if you would remember me but I served in Chisinau for a couple of transfers)

    1. How cool is this! Love it when this happens. I totally remember you! I am actually going to attempt an actual cozonac tomorrow, and if it works, I'll def post it here. Going to your blog to stalk you and catch up on your life.

      So totally cool how you found me through that ridiculous comment I left at My Best Bites.


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