Friday, April 22, 2011

Italian Easter Bread

Easter bread is yet another tradition in mine and every Italian family. Many many varieties of Easter breads have been created depending on what part of Italy your ancestors have decended from and how the recipes have evolved through the generations.

The most popular of the varieties.....

where raw colored eggs are cooked right into the bread. Makes for a beautiful center piece...with a candle sometimes placed in the center of the larger of the round breads.

Then there's the more religious approach....

where dove or cross shaped spring-form pans or paper molds are used. This process usually has several steps and involves up to 18 hours of waiting for the dough to raise before baking. These breads are usually studded with candied fruits or almonds.

Some have a sweeter touch...

with a sweet glaze or icing and adorned with colored sprinkles or almonds.

Now I should probably get to my family's Easter bread recipe....which is different from all the rest!

You'll first need to cream together* 1 1/2 cups of sugar and 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter. Add 6 beaten eggs and mix well. Next add 6 cups of flour, 6 tsp of baking powder, 1/2 cup of milk, 2 1/2 tsp lemon extract and 1 1/2 tbsp of lemon rind.
*cream together means to blend together using an electric mixer on medium speed until smooth and fluffy

The mixture will look like this when all combined well. Form 2 egg shaped ovals on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Don't they kind of look like Easter eggs??!! Bake at 350 degrees for approx 30 minutes. Check with a cake tester or butter knife to see if the inside is done.

         I displayed my breads on an Easter Lily platter.

And then I enjoyed a piece with a cup of Tuscan Lemon Black tea and a good blog read.
Best served warm accompanied by your favorite tea or coffee.

               Happy Easter and Enjoy!!!


*some photos courtesy of Taste of Home, bon appetit, and The Italian Dish

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