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Flavorful Fridays: Buona Pasqua!

April 2, 2010

Happy Easter! Originating from northern Italy, our culinary traditions are quite different from southern Italy, however, this past week, I’ve been seeing/reading a lot about Italian Easter Bread (an episode of the Food Network’s The Cake Boss, for one). And, I realized that this recipe is extremely close to our traditional Easter cinnamon roll recipe that my family has enjoyed for years. While our cinnamon roll recipe is not necessarily an Italian one, it is reminiscent of the sweet bread many Sicilians make at Easter (of course, replacing the cinnamon with hard-boiled eggs). Therefore, rather than give you one of our traditional Easter dishes this Good Friday, I am stepping into another region of Italy and trying a different Italian Easter tradition.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of enjoying Italian Easter Bread (pupi con le uova; cannateddi), it is a sweet bread that is braided or twisted and looped into a circle. Some bakers place eggs in between the braided layers, while others place the egg in the center of the bread. Most times this is seen with colored eggs, but those very traditional bakers leave the eggs a natural white. The eggs are included in many Easter dishes because it is symbolic of renewal, rebirth, and fertility. Eggs are a symbol of hope. Small, colored sprinkles dust the top of the bread. It is delicious, especially warm, right out of the oven.

Italian Easter Bread

Recipe adapted from several different sources

Ingredients:

1 package active dry yeast
1-1/4 cups warm milk
1/3 cup butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sugar

3 to 3-1/2 cups flour

For top (added right before baking):

1 egg plus 1 teaspoon of water, beaten
sprinkles

Directions:

In a mixer bowl, combine yeast, warm milk, and butter. Add salt, eggs, and sugar. Add about half the flour and mix until smooth with dough hook.  Slowly add the remaining flour (plus more if needed) until dough is soft and no longer sticky to touch. Turn onto floured board and knead until smooth. Place in a greased bowl and turn once to grease top. Cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about an hour.

Punch dough down and divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1-inch thick rope about 1-foot long. Taking two pieces, twist ropes, and loop into a circle.

Place onto Silpat-covered baking sheet. Cover and let rise until double, about 45 minutes. Brush each bread with beaten egg wash. Dust the tops with sprinkles. If desired, place an Easter egg in the middle of each bread. (Note: you may want to place uncooked eggs in the center, as they will cook in the oven).

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove and cool on a rack.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 2, 2010 1:35 pm

    Looks delicious! I’m putting this on my list of things to make soon. 🙂

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