Thursday, April 1, 2010

Grandma Victoria's Easter Bread Recipe

In our family, Palm Sunday started off the Holiday for Easter, with a blessing from grandma Victoria. Grandma would take the palms, dip them in holy water, splash all of us in the face and bless us. She had so much cooking going on, the stove and oven were both loaded up. Artichokes, chicken soup, sauce, braciole,sausage, meatballs, we usually had lasagna and leg of lamb when they could afford it along with many cookies and desserts. The night before she would make this dough, let it rise over night, and in the morning, start making, braids, rings, crosses, to give to all her catholic lady friends and for us kids. We would all have the boiled egg in the center of ours. Boy if she ever knew I use to go hide them, never liked the yolks when I was a kid they were so dry, it didn't change when I grew up.
The kids loved the frosting, I like my toasted or straight out of the oven loaded with real butter~

I loved the smell of the aroma of this bread, sweet anisette all over the house would just hit you in the face when you walk through the door

It was so much easier to just braid the bread, brush with egg yolks and in the oven it went done. No boiled eggs for me~ I wont leave the bread out on the counter with boiled eggs in it all day, and usually worry about them going bad, so that's one tradition I broke, its no yolk~

Easter is incredibly important in Italy this time of year and I would love to be there, even with all the major traffic jams. We still have family that lives there, and can't wait to visit them. Here is a little background of what they have told me.
Easter in Italian is “Pasqua,” and it’s a time of religious parades and celebrations. These processions often have as their focus statues of Jesus or the Virgin Mary which are carried through the city streets by participants. One of the largest and most famous processions is in the city of Enna in Sicily on Good Friday, where more than 2,000 friars parade through the city. One of the oldest Good Friday processions takes place in the Abruzzo city of Chieti.
Of course, because Italy is such an overwhelmingly Catholic's you’ll find the majority of them head to St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. For some more personal and local traditions, Catholic priests throughout Italy will stop by private homes and shops in order to bless them for Easter.
Buon Pasqua~

Grandma Victoria's Easter Bread
She always doubled this recipe

1 package of dry yeast
6 egg yolks
8 1/2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 cup oil
3 1/2 to 4 cups of flour
3 teaspoons anisette extract or more if you like this very strong, she sometimes used the whole bottle, grandma loved her anisette!

Soften yeast in 1/3 cup warm water. Mix eggs, anisette. and oil to yeast in a large industrial size bowl for an electric mixer. Add sugar then the flour one cup at a time , a soft dough will form. Let rise overnight covered with a light film of oil and plastic wrap over the bowl. Set in warm, not drafty place. This dough can be formed into animals, braids, crosses. I boil eggs when we have kids over, color them and place inside the bread always cooked. Let rise till double. Bake at 400 till browned. We love this bread toasted, so I never frost every loaf, however. This has a confectionery sugar frosting, mixed thinly with milk, then sprinkled with nonpareils colored candies. Jelly beans look great on this as well.
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