2 cups milk
½ cup oil/margarine or butter
½ cup sugar
2 ½ packages yeast
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoon salt
7 to 7 ½ cups of all-purpose flour, added gradually
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup chopped almonds
½ cup cut up candied cherries
½ to ¾ teaspoon mace
For glaze and garnish:
additional red or green candied cherries
whole or slivered almonds
Heat milk, shortening and sugar in a bowl in the microwave until lukewarm. Take out, add yeast and let set for 5 minutes (yeast will start working). Meanwhile mix the raisins, almonds, candied cherries, and mace in a small bowl.
Add the eggs and salt to the milk mixture and beat to combine. Add a little of the flour, beating after each addition. When the dough is like a pudding mixture, add the fruits and nuts. Continue to add flour a little at a time until you need to mix it with a spoon. Mix with spoon, then when it starts to form a ball, put it on a floured cutting board and start kneading. (You can also cover the cutting board with freezer paper, shiny side up, taped down with masking tape).
This dough will need to be a little stiff, as you want it to rise and hold its shape. Put a in greased bowl and let rise, punch down, and let rise again. Make into two small or one large houska (two is better). To shape one loaf, braid three thick ropes for the bottom layer, put on baking sheet, and then braid three smaller ropes to sit on top. Let rise and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown.
Frost with powdered sugar icing – milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Pour to glaze top. Decorate: Add cut red candied cherries and cut green cherries, slivered to make leaves. Add almonds to decorate like a flower.