How to Make Romanian Easter Bread Cozonac

May 7, 2021

Romanian Easter and Christmas bread, Cozonac is a sweet loaf filled with a spiral nut paste and citrus zest, the perfect festive celebration bread.

A classic sweet leavened bread, cozonac is a traditional dessert in Romania, Moldova and Bulgaria. The essential ingredients of cozonac are flour, milk, yeast, sugar, eggs and butter, with regional variations which include ingredients such as orange zest, lemon zest, nuts, rum, vanilla, raisins and Turkish delight.

The sweet dough is rolled and filled with a spread of ground walnuts, pecans or chocolate. Once rolled and baked the interior of the cozonac is filled with festive swirls of nut or chocolate paste. The flavours of citrus, sweetness, dried fruits and rum make cozonac the ideal dessert for festive holidays such as Easter, Christmas and New Year.

Traditional CozonacPhoto By Canva
Taste Score: %84
Difficulty Medium
Servings 8 people
Preparation 90 mins
Cooking 45 mins
Total 135 mins

Tips

  • The cozonac dough does not need heaving kneading as most breads are traditionally prepared, this is lightly brought together in 5 - 10 minutes to form the dough.
  • After proofing the dough is rolled out by pressing into the work surface with hands as it is soft and easily pliable, this process maintains the structure of the dough rather than deflating with a rolling pin.
  • Cozonac can be filled with any variety of dried fruits, flavourings and citrus as you desire, in this recipe we have filled the bread with a combination of all the most popular flavours.

Ingredients

Directions

Cozonac Dough

  1. In a jug add the fresh yeast, 1 tsp sugar and 2 tbsp milk, whisk together and allow to proof for 5 minutes.
  2. Sieve the all-purpose flour and salt into a mixing bowl.
  3. Pour the melted butter and yeast mixture into the flour, stir to bring together.
  4. Then add ½ cup sugar, vanilla extract, rum essence, lemon zest, orange zest and 3 egg yolks.
  5. Lightly stir the ingredients together to combine. Transfer to a work surface and use your hands to knead the dough for 5 minutes until smooth and sticky.
  6. Place the dough back into the mixing bowl and cover with a kitchen cloth.
  7. Allow the dough to proof for 1 hour.

Cozonac Filling

  1. Place the egg whites into a mixing bowl, whisk until stiff peaks.
  2. Pour the remaining sugar and cocoa powder into the egg whites, fold together to form a uniform mixture.
  3. Then add the ground walnuts to the mixing bowl, mix to create a smooth paste.

Cozonac

  1. Grease a loaf tin and line with parchment paper.
  2. Once the dough has proofed and doubled in size, transfer to an oiled work surface.
  3. Divide the dough in half, take one half of the dough and spread it out on the work surface into a rectangle ½-inch thick.
  4. Spread ½ the walnut and chocolate mixture onto the surface on the dough, leaving a 1-inch gap around the sides.
  5. Scatter half the raisins onto the filling.
  6. Roll the dough inside itself along the width of the rectangle to form a long rope shape.
  7. Repeat step 2 to step 5 for the second half of the dough.
  8. Then line up the doughs together then fold one rope over the other to form a long knot.
  9. Transfer the dough to the prepared loaf tin and cover with a kitchen cloth for 1 hour.
  10. Preheat an oven to 350F.
  11. Once the cozonac has proofed for 1 hour and doubled in size, glaze the surface with an egg yolk.
  12. Place the bread in the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes.
  13. Test that the bread is cooked by inserting a toothpick into the centre, a clean toothpick indicates that the dough is ready.
  14. Allow the cozonac to cool in the loaf tin then transfer to a chopping board, slice and serve.
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Traditional Cozonac
Serves 8
Amount Per Serving
Calories447
% Daily Value*
Cholesterol 70 mg23.3%
Sodium 107 mg4.7%
Potassium 355 mg7.6%
Protein 13.2 g26.4%
Total Fat 18.8 g24.1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

What Does Cozonac Taste Like?

The dough of the Romanian Easter bread is sweet and plain with a light and fluffy texture while the exterior develops a deep golden crust, the filling is boldly flavoured with fragrant nuts, chocolate, citrus and aromatics.

Popular fillings vary by regions with the most common being ground nuts, ground poppy seeds, chocolate and lokum (Turkish delight).

When to Eat Cozonac?

Cozonac is a celebration loaf also known as Romanian Easter bread as the fresh and aromatic ingredients provide a festive flavour. Served throughout the festive holidays of the year including Easter, Christmas and New Year as a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

The bread is popularly served through Romania, Moldova, Bulgaria and Serbia although believed to have originated in Egypt and been transported through the Greek.

Where to Buy Cozonac?

The Romanian Easter bread is a speciality loaf which is difficult to source outside of their home countries. Cozonac can be purchased from boutique bakeries or online as the bread can be packaged with a longer shelf life. The best way to experience cozonac is to follow our recipe and produce a homemade loaf.

What is The Difference Between Pasca and Cozonac?

Pasca and cozonac are both festive breads popular in Romania which use the same sweetened dough as a base.

While cozonac is filled with a nut paste and rolled, pasca has a sweet cheesecake filling at the centre of a round dough. Sweetened yeast-dough is plaited around the rim of a spring-form pan then the centre is filled with a farmer’s cheese to produce another delicious dessert bread.

Pasca and cozonac are favoured as they are served at Easter feasts which mark the end of fasting, the first sweet treat after 7 weeks of abstaining making these loaves extra special.

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