Italian Ricotta Easter Bread
Total TimePrep: 30 min. Bake: 45 min.
- 3/4 cup plain or butter-flavored shortening, room temperature
- 1-1/2 cups sugar
- 3 large Nellie’s Free Range 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.
Editor's NoteTo toast nuts, bake in a shallow pan in a 350° oven for 5-10 minutes or cook in a skillet over low heat until lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
Nutrition Facts1 piece: 376 calories, 11g fat (4g saturated fat), 68mg cholesterol, 247mg sodium, 60g carbohydrate (28g sugars, 1g fiber), 8g protein.
May 1, 2018
Very good flavor (used almond extract and almonds on top) but the texture was a bit disappointing. The bread had a thin , dry crust like a yeast bread but the inside was moist and quite dense. It was more like a pound cake consistency than a sweet bread. Followed suggestion of others and made 2 smaller loaves and that worked out well.
Apr 2, 2018
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!
May 28, 2017
Wow, wow amazing! This will be an Easter tradition from now on. Easy to make, and perfect for hostess gifts!
Apr 29, 2017
For Easter I made several specialty breads, and this one was my favorite. Sweet and moist. Delicious!!!
Apr 17, 2017
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!
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