Today, November 17, we celebrate the feast day of St. Elizabeth of Hungary. As a queen she felt that she should care for all her people as if they were her children. She was known for her generosity to the poor. Legend says that on one occasion in the middle of winter she left her castle with her apron filled with bread for the poor. On the way she met her husband. He opened her cape to see what she carried and found her apron full of roses, not bread. When he bent to kiss Elizabeth he found her face transfigured with the radiance of heaven.
Both roses and bread are her symbols, so as we celebrate her today and recall her charity to the poor, what better way than with a rose shaped bread. Braided bread is associated with many Eastern European countries such as Hungary and while this particular style is referred to as Russian Rose Bread, it seems particularly fitting for St. Elizabeth since it is bread shaped in a rose. It can be filled with either a sweet or savory filling.
This morning we made a cinnamon rose bread for breakfast. It can be made using a generic bread recipe. In this case I made a sweet bread dough. The recipe and ingredients for this one are similar to those shared a few years ago by Charlotte - Hungarian Cinnamon Bread. The main difference is the shaping technique used to end up with a rose shaped bread here.
Sweet Roll Dough
1 pkg. dry yeast
½ c. warm water
1/2 c. lukewarm milk (scalded then cooled)
1/3 c. butter, margarine or shortening
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3 ½ to 4 c. flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in milk sugar, butter, salt, egg, and 2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl, turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place until double, about 1 ½ hours.
2-3 tbsp. butter, softened
1/4 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
Roll dough into large rectangle. Spread butter over dough, sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.
Roll up dough tightly along lengthier side. Pinch edge of dough to seal well. Cut the roll in half lengthwise.
Starting at the top, cross over the strands in an X, repeat crossover to twist the two lengths together into long braid.
Wind braided strand into a circle keeping cinnamon slits facing upward. Fan open as needed to create rose/flower petal look.
Place on bottom of greased springform pan. Add springform pan sides. Let rise until double (30-40 minutes). Bake in 375 degree oven 20-25 minutes.
Additional idea: Make two, one to keep and one to share, in the spirit of Christian charity of St. Elizabeth.
St. Elizabeth, pray for us.