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1/2 cup rum or brandy
1 cup chopped citron
1 cup chopped candied orange peel
3/4 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup currants
2 env. dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 cup 1 plus tbsp. sugar
2 cups milk
2 tsp. salt
1-1/3 cups unsalted butter
1 1/2 lemons
1 tsp. almond extract
7 to 8 cups flour, as needed
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 cups chopped blanched almonds
1/2 cup melted butter, approximately
1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar, for sprinkling
Vanilla Sugar, (confectioners') for sprinkling
INSTRUCTIONSCombine rum with citron, orange peel, raisins and currants and let stand for 1 hour. Drain, RESERVING rum and fruit.
Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar and set aside in a warm place for 10 minutes, or until foamy. Scald milk with 1 cup granulated sugar, salt and butter. When butter melts, cool to lukewarm. Add lemon rind, 2 tablespoons reserved rum and almond extract. Stir in yeast and 2 cups flour. Mix well and set in warm corner for 30 minutes, or until the mixture bubbles. Stir in eggs and work in as much remaining flour as need to make a soft, light dough that does not stick to your hands.
Dredge drained fruit lightly with flour. Turn dough onto floured board and knead until dough blisters and is smooth and elastic.
Knead in fruits and nuts only until well distributed. Gather into a ball, place in a floured bowl and dust top lightly with flour. Cover loosely and let rise in a draft-free corner for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.
Punch dough down, divide into thirds and set aside for 10 minutes. Lightly roll each third of dough into an oval about 3/4i nch thick.
Brush top of each oval with a little melted butter and sprinkle with a tablespoonful or two of granulated sugar. Fold each oval lengthwise, almost in half, so that edges do not quite meet. Press closed.
Slide loaves onto a lightly buttered baking sheet, brush tops with melted butter and let rise in draft-free corner for 1 hour, or until almost doubled in bulk.
Bake in preheated 375 F. oven for about 1 hour, or until golden brown and hollow-sounding when tapped on bottom. Cool slightly, but while still warm, brush tops with melted butter and dust with confectioners' sugar. Cool completey and dust with confectioners' sugar again before slicing. Serve thinly sliced, with or without butter.
To store, place in plastic bags and tie closed, or wrap in double thickness of aluminum foil. Makes 3 loaves
Place 1 pound confectioners' or granulated sugar in a jar with 2 or 3 vanilla beans. Close jar tightly and let stand for 48 hours before using. Replenish sugar as it is used up. Use as called for in individual recipes. Beans need replacing only after 4 or 5 months.