- 3/4 cup plain or butter-flavored shortening, room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 3 large egg yolks, room temperature
- 1 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon almond extract (or flavor of choice)
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup 2% milk
- 1-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
- 3 tablespoons 2% milk
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (or flavor of choice)
- Sliced toasted almonds or assorted sprinkles
- Preheat oven to 350°. Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in ricotta and extract. In another bowl, whisk flour, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture alternately with milk, beating well after each addition, stirring in final 1 cup flour by hand.
- Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into thirds. Roll each into an 18-in. rope. Place ropes on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet and braid. Pinch ends to seal; tuck under braid. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 45-55 minutes (do not overbake). Remove to wire racks to cool.
- Meanwhile, beat confectioners' sugar, milk and extract until smooth. Brush on bread while still warm; top with sliced almonds or sprinkles. Yield: 18 servings.
Reviews forItalian Ricotta Easter Bread
"Excellent recipe! Tried it for the first time for Easter to replace a yeast bread that I just had too much trouble with. This didn't disappoint. The only thing I would do different is to make 2 smaller loaves instead of one big loaf. Also, I didn't over bake but still felt like the minimum 45 minutes might have been 5 minutes too much in my oven. So I'd start checking at 40 minutes. Next time I will braid on the sheet pan or on the parchment paper for ease of lifting. Another thing that I did was instead of making 3 ropes to braid, I left the dough in one piece and cut it into 3rds about 2 inches down from the top and braided from there. This is a keeper!"
"Wow, wow amazing! This will be an Easter tradition from now on. easy to make, and perfect for hostess gifts!"
"For Easter I made several specialty breads, and this one was my favorite. Sweet and moist. Delicious!!!"
"Flavor is excellent! And ease of preparation is a plus. My only suggestion is to separate the dough in half then divide each half into thirds and make two smaller loaves. I made one loaf as the recipe stated. It was huge and also cracked in half as I was trying to move it after it cooled. I had extra ricotta so I made a half recipe and made a smaller loaf ( each rope was about 12 inches or so in length). That loaf was beautiful! I did not add almonds or sprinkles. Lightly glazed was perfect!"