The Italians love to celebrate holidays with food and Easter is one of those special holidays. The breads come in every shape and size. Many are sweet, braided and wrapped around eggs. The Neapolitans have a delicious savory one stuffed with ricotta and sausage or ham. This recipe is more along the lines of a Calabrian bread. Easter is preceded by Lent, a time of fasting for many Christians. Come Easter Sunday, it is time to come together...
- 3 cups/375g all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup/48g sugar
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup/158ml warm milk (120F/49C)
- 2 tablespoons butter/29g, softened
- 2 large eggs
- grated orange zest
- 1/4 cup/43g chopped blanched almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
- 5 hard boiled eggs
- neutral oil
- 1 cup/130g confectioner's sugar, sifted
- 2 to 3 tablespoons/30-45ml orange juice
- sprinkles or nonpareils, for decorating
In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup/125g flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add milk and butter; beat 2 minutes on medium.
Add 2 eggs and 1/2 cup/62g flour; beat 2 minutes on high. Stir in zest, nuts and aniseed; mix well.
Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl; turn once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Dye the hard boiled eggs in Easter colors and lightly rub with oil. Punch dough down. Divide in half; roll each piece into a 24-in. rope. Loosely twist ropes together to form a circle and tuck eggs into openings. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.
Bake at 350F/173C/Gas 5. for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack. In a small bowl add sugar and 2 tablespoons/30ml orange juice, stir to combine. If too thick add the last of the juice. Decorate with a glaze and sprinkles, if desired.