This traditional Easter bread is topped with colored raw eggs, which cook as the bread bakes. It makes for a pretty centerpiece.
- 2-3/4 to 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2/3 cup 2% milk
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup chopped mixed candied fruit
- 1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds
- 1/2 teaspoon aniseed
- 5 uncooked eggs, dyed
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 to 2 tablespoons 2% milk
- Decorator candies, optional
- In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In a large saucepan, heat milk and 2 tablespoons butter to 120°-130°. Add dry ingredients; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add eggs; mix well. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a lightly 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 1 hour.
- Punch dough down; turn onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in fruit, almonds and aniseed until blended. Let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough in half. Shape each portion into a 24-in. rope. Loosely twist ropes together; place on a greased baking sheet and form into a ring. Pinch ends together. Melt remaining butter; brush over dough. Gently separate ropes and tuck dyed eggs into openings. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 40 minutes.
- Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack. For glaze, in a bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, vanilla and enough milk to achieve desired consistency; drizzle over bread. Sprinkle with candies if desired. Yield: 1 loaf (20 slices).
Originally published as Italian Easter Bread in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2004, p166
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