Italian Easter Bread

April 3, 2018

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Happy Easter! Yes, I do realize that Easter was back on Sunday, but I really wanted to share this recipe for this beautiful Italian Easter Bread with you, even though I’m doing so a bit late. Truth be told, I had every intention to have this posted on Saturday morning, before Easter, but then life got in the way and it just didn’t happen. But hey, as it turns out, folks celebrate Easter every single year, so with this recipe already in hand you’ll be way ahead of the game for Easter 2019.

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This light and airy Italian Easter bread is similar to brioche. Rich and only slightly sweet, it looks amazing on your Easter brunch table. If you have a real sweet tooth, you can amp up the sugar factor by adding a sweet glaze once it comes out of the oven.  These lovely loaves are also a great way to display your brightly colored Easter Eggs.

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I love trying out Easter breads from around the world. Last year I baked Tsoureki (Greek Easter Bread) . Tsoureki also has an egg or eggs baked into it.

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I’ve also made Slovak Paska

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And even tried my hand with the impressive Russian Kulich (Easter bread)

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And of course every year I bake Apple Cinnamon Hot Cross Buns on Good Friday.

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But let me get back to talking about this year’s offering – Italian Easter Bread. It was really very easy to make, rose like a champ and looked so festive on the brunch table. My only disappointment was the egg. The recipe said that you should use RAW eggs that have been dyed, not hard-boiled ones. The claim was that the eggs would cook perfectly as the bread baked. I was skeptical. I thought a baked egg would have a weird rubbery texture, but I was hopeful, so I did use raw eggs. Although it looks like Sprinkle Bakes (the blog on which I found this recipe) eggs came out great, mine did not. They were just not done, very runny. And I could not have left the bread in the oven for any longer than I did as it was perfectly golden. Turns out it wasn’t a disaster, we just ate around the offending egg. In the future I think I will just use a raw egg which has not been dyed, as a place holder in the oven. Once the bread is done baking, I will carefully remove that egg and swap it out for a perfectly hardboiled dyed egg. Another advantage of doing it that was is that you won’t have to worry about any of the eggs coloring bleeding onto the loaves. And don’t forget to rub your finished eggs with a little bit of oil to really make them shine!

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So, once again I hope you will forgive my tardiness with this Easter post. Please keep this Italian Easter Bread at the ready for next year. Happy be-lated Easter!

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Italian Easter Bread

  • Servings: 6 braided loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

recipe from: Sprinkle Bakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups (301 ml.) milk or half and half
  • 1/3 cup (76 grams) unsalted butter
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
  • Pinch of salt (about 1/16 teaspoon)
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) sugar
  • 3 to 4 cups (408 to 544 grams) bread flour (approximate)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • Rainbow nonpareils
  • 6 raw eggs, room temperature, dyed in rainbow colors *please see my above note on use of raw eggs

Directions:

Combine the milk and butter in a small saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Warm just until the butter is completely melted and remove from the heat. Let cool until just warm.
Combine the yeast, salt, eggs and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the warm milk and half of the flour. Knead with the dough hook until combined. Add more flour gradually until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the mixer. You may not have to use all of the flour (but I did!). Knead the dough about 3-5 minutes longer, or until completely smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn it over once to coat the top. Cover with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise in a warm place, about 1 hour.

Gently deflate the dough with a fist. Turn it out onto a floured work surface and pat it down slightly so that the dough has an even thickness. Cut the dough into 12 even pieces. Roll each piece to form a 1-inch thick rope about 14 inches in length. Take two lengths and twist them together; loop the twist into a circle and pinch the ends together. Place the circle onto parchment lined baking sheets. Cover the loaves with plastic wrap and let rise again for 1 hour, or until doubled.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Combine the egg and 1 teaspoon water in a small condiment cup. Using a pastry brush, lightly coat the loaves with the mixture. Sprinkle on the nonpareils and gently place a dyed egg in the middle of each loaf. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the bread is golden and fragrant. Let cool on wire racks..

Notes:

  • For a simple milk glaze, mix 1 cup of confectioners’ sugar with 1-2 tablespoons of milk. Whisk together until smooth. A little vanilla extract couldn’t hurt, either.
  • After the dough is raised and turned out onto a work surface, 1/2 cup mixed candied fruit and 1/4 cup blanched almonds can be mixed in.  2 tablespoons of citrus zest may be added to the dough also.

Enjoy!

Italian Easter Bread brought to you by: Runcible Eats www.leaandjay.com

Links for Helpful Kitchen Tools & Ingredients for Italian Easter Bread:

OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Food Scale

Kitchen Aid Artisan Stand Mixer

6 Quart Dough Rising Bucket

SAF Instant Yeast

Hand Held Zester

Oxo Good Grips small silicone pastry brush

Oxo Good Grips 7 Piece Nesting Measuring Beaker Set

 

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Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Biscotti

January 3, 2012

I actually did it! I managed to make Biscotti all on my own! And not any old Biscotti, this Cranberry, Pistachio and White Chocolate Biscotti rocks! It is far and away, the best Biscotti I have ever eaten! My friend John originally turned me on to Biscotti by bringing me Whole Food’s Cranberry Pistachio version, telling me “This stuff is fantastic! You should try it.” Well, truth be told, although I was thankful he was so thoughtful, I wasn’t thrilled with idea of the biscotti. Every Biscotti I had eaten up until that point had been very dry, like chewing sawdust, with very little flavour. Furthermore, it was often so hard that I just knew it had a high probability of cracking every tooth I had it my head! So, the Whole Food Biscotti got pushed aside for a few days. But John had been so enthusiastic about them, I decided to give them a try. Armed with a cup of coffee to lessen the likely hood of a sudden trip to the dentist, I tentatively dunked and then tasted. John was right! These Biscotti were fantastic! Fast forward to about a month ago, I happened to see Giada De Laurentis making Biscotti on the Food Network. She made it look very easy, so I gave it a whirl.

The only thing I changed in her recipe is that she dipped her Cranberry, Pistachio Biscotti in melted White Chocolate and then sprinkled them with red and green sanding sugar to give them a real Holiday feel. I decided to simply add some white chocolate chips to the mix and skip the dipping. I thought that the red cranberries and green pistachios give it all the Holiday cheer it needed. (and I might be a bit lazy…) The results? These Biscotti put the Whole Foods version to shame. They are full of flavour, you can really taste the cranberries, and have an awesome texture, crunchy yet still moist.

My husband happened to pop into the kitchen just after I had taken my first bite to find me literally dancing about. Being somewhat leery of Biscotti himself, for the same reasons I had been, he was a bit hesitant to try them. But watching my happy dance, he couldn’t resist and now is a Biscotti fan himself! He loved them. He loved them so much he is asking me to make an Apricot Dark Chocolate version which I am planning to do later this week. Even our dog loves them, so much he can recognize the sound of the Biscotti container opening and will immediately run to the kitchen. (Not that we spoil our dog by giving him people food…) So, I guess I’m saying, don’t put up with that brick bat hard, tasteless, cardboardy store-bought Biscotti any longer, make some for yourself and see how delicious it can truly be!

Cranberry Pistachio and White Chocolate Biscotti

recipe from Giada De Laurentis via the Food Network

yield: about 15 biscotti

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup white chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a heavy large baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the flour and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar, butter, lemon zest, and salt in a large bowl to blend. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time. Add the flour mixture and beat just until blended. Stir in the pistachios, cranberries and white chocolate.

Form the dough into a 13-inch long, 3-inch wide log on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until light golden, about 40 minutes. Cool for 30 minutes.

Place the log on the cutting board. Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the log on a diagonal into 1/2 to 3/4-inch-thick slices. Arrange the biscotti, cut side down, on the baking sheet. Bake the biscotti until they are pale golden, about 15 minutes. Transfer the biscotti to a rack and cool completely.

Enjoy!


Biscoff Crunch White Chocolate Chip Cookies

December 22, 2011

Alright…I know your first questions are “What is Biscoff?” “Is that a spelling error?” No it isn’t. Biscoff are delicious cookies originally made by the Lotus Bakery in Belgium in 1932. Overseas they are referred to as Speculoos Biscuits (Biscuit=cookie in European speak) These cookies are really delicious and have a caramelized cinnamony taste. You may have eaten one if you’ve flown anywhere recently, because many airlines have been serving them as a snack since 1984. Now they are being sold in the United States. I have seen them in my local Giant and Safeway stores. You can check out the Biscoff website to find out which grocery chain sells them in your state, or there is always good old Amazon if you can’t seem to find them anywhere. And believe me, you should try to find them. They are fabulous all on their own, especially with a nice cup of tea or coffee. But when they are crunched up in a cookie with white chocolate chips, they will just put you over the moon! These cookies really are that fantastic! Just so you know, you will need two sleeves of these cookies to make this recipe, so when you find them, stock up! Santa may be getting one or two Biscoff Crunch White Chocolate Chip Cookies, if he is lucky. We might just gobble them all up before Christmas Eve. I’m sure you noticed my pup lurking around in the background of my pics! It will definitely be touch and go. I’ll keep you posted…

Biscoff Crunch White Chocolate Chip Cookies

recipe from Picky Palate

yield: 3 dozen cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 20 finely ground Biscoff Cookies
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 20 crushed Biscoff Cookies (coarsely chopped for an added crunch)
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and line a large baking sheet with a silpat liner or parchment paper.

In a stand or electric mixer, cream the butter and sugars until light and creamy. Add eggs then vanilla until well combined.

In a large bowl add the flour, ground Biscoff Cookies, baking soda and salt. Mix to combine then slowly add to wet ingredients until just combined. Add coarsely chopped Biscoff cookies and white chips until just combined.

With a medium cookies scoop, scoop dough onto prepared baking sheet about 1 inch apart. Bake for 12-15 minutes until edges start to turn golden brown. Remove and let cool for 5 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.

Enjoy!


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