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Italian Recipe Series: Pane di Pasqua

Buona Pasqua!   We’ve been seeing pastel eggs and brightly colored candies in the grocery stores, and in just 10 short days, Easter will be here.  Italy has a very long tradition of celebrating the Easter season. In Florence, the people celebrate with Scioppio del Carro, Tredozio has its lively Palio dell’Uovo, and Merano celebrates with its Corse Rusticane. But, if you can’t make it to the festivities yourself, you can bring a bit of pasquale tradition to your own home, wherever you are.  This recipe for Pane di Pasqua was brought to us by Stefania, one of our Italian language instructors. This is a yeasted bread that is braided around colorful, dyed Easter eggs. She said that she was nervous at first to bake raw eggs in the oven, but it turned out great and was really fun to make. Try it yourself and let us know how you like it!

 

Ingredients:

1/4 c warm water

2 1/4 tsp (1pkg) dry yeast

1c whole milk

1/2 c granulated sugar

2 tsp kosher salt

5 1/4c all purpose flour, plus more for kneading

3 large eggs

1 stick (1/2c) unsalted butter

2 tsp vanilla extract

Freshly grated orange zest

5 dyed raw eggs for decoration

1 egg lightly beaten for glaze

Directions

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and yeast; stir well. Combine milk and butter in a small saucepan; heat until milk is warm and butter is softened but not melted. Gradually add the milk and butter to the flour mixture; stirring constantly. Add two eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat well. Add the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal size rounds; cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each round into a long roll about 36 inches long and 1 1/2 inches thick. Using the two long pieces of dough, form a loosely braided ring, leaving spaces for the five colored eggs. Seal the ends of the ring together and use your fingers to slide the eggs between the braids of dough. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place loaf on a buttered baking sheet and cover loosely with a damp towel. Place loaf in a warm place and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Brush risen loaf with melted butter.

April 20, 2018

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