1 cup whole milk, lukewarm
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup all-purpose flour
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
4 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground mahlab
Zest of 2 oranges
1/4 teaspoon salt
½ pound butter, softened and cut into cubes
Egg wash: 1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons water
Optional fillings: raisins, cranberries, candied citrus peel, chocolate, nuts
Sesame seeds or sliced almonds for garnish
Powdered sugar for dusting
A coin wrapped in foil
Begin by creating what is known as a sponge by combining the warm milk, yeast, 3 tablespoons sugar and 1 cup flour in the bowl of a tabletop mixer. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. The yeast will activate in that time.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Add the orange zest and ground mahlab and mix well.
Add the eggs, remaining sugar and vanilla extract to the sponge mixture. Mix well with the paddle attachment.
Switch to the dough hook attachment and add the flour mixture in 2-3 batches. Allow it to knead for 8 minutes on a low speed.
Add the softened butter and knead until it is all incorporated into the dough.
Transfer the dough to an oiled large bowl.
Cover with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and set aside for 2 hours to rise until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 177 degrees Celsius.
Grease and line a 10 inch round by 3 inch deep baking pan with parchment paper.
Remove the dough after it has risen and place onto a counter. At this point you can add any of your favorite dried fruit and nuts or chocolate. Knead it into the dough. Place the coin in the dough so that it is concealed. Place the dough into the prepared pan and cover with plastic wrap or with a towel.
Set aside to rise. About an hour.
Brush with egg wash and top with sesame seeds or sliced almonds.
Bake for 1 hour or until it becomes a deep mahogany color on top and the center is cooked. You may check by inserting a toothpick in the center.
Allow to cool completely. About 35 minutes.
Remove from pan and dust with confectioner’s sugar.
Enjoy! Whoever gets the slice with the coin wins J