copyright Art of Living,PrimaMedia,Inc./Maria Liberati
While most children awakened to Eastern morning with thoughts of candy-filled baskets, for me, the enticing aroma of fresh Easter bread baking in the oven drifted throughout the house and called me to the kitchen table, where I would be greeted by the welcome sight of the Pane di Pasqua all’Uova, or Easter egg bread. Traditionally, this special bread was shaped in a corona di nove (wreath shape), but today some bake the bread in form of rabbits or fancy Easter baskets. Decorated with slivered almonds or brightly colored sprinkles and multicolored Easter eggs, the traditional Easter egg bread always adds a special touch to this festive day.
(photo credit: ricettepercucinare.com)
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 small packages dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- Juice from 1 fresh lemon
- grated peel from one fresh lemon
- 1 tsp anise flavoring
- 6 tablespoons butter, cubed
- 4 eggs
- 1/4 cup slivered almonds
- 3 hard-cooked eggs
- olive oil
- 2 tablespoons cold water
- In a large mixing bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, cinnamon and salt. In a saucepan, heat milk and butter to 120 degrees F-130 degrees F. Add to dry ingredients; blend just until moistened. Add 3 eggs; beat until smooth. Then place in grated lemon peel. lemon juice, anise flavoring. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Dye hard-cooked eggs; lightly rub with oil. Punch dough down. Place on a lightly floured surface; divide dough into thirds. Shape each portion into a 24-in. rope.
- Place ropes on a greased baking sheet and braid; bring ends together to form a ring. Pinch ends to seal. Gently separate braided ropes and tuck dyed eggs into openings. Sprinkle almonds on top. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 20 minutes.
- Beat water and egg; gently brush over dough. Bake at 375 degrees F for 28-32 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Refrigerate leftovers.