“A tavola non si invecchia”. - Italian proverb (At the table with good friends and family you do not become old).

Sharing authentic Italian recipes entrusted upon me through the privilege of being invited into many Italian homes and kitchen’s abroad. I travel, cook, eat, share, learn and photograph my experiences, a truly soul enriching journey. There are now over 100 recipes on this blog to search from. I am a Melbourne born girl who now resides in Pietrasanta, Italy. Sharing my love for food and all things Italian with you. I am not a professionally trained chef, just a person that really loves cooking and has made my passion my reality! Through talent and drive I now work as a private chef in some of the most prestigious private villa`s here in Versilia, Italy!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Treccia Pasquale (Easter bread)

"Buona Pasqua a tutti" (Happy Easter to all)!  There is nothing more festive than the smell of baking this bread.  The poignant colour from the symbolic red eggs the rich yellow dough derived from using saffron.  The most common bread made and sold everywhere around Italy at Easter time is the "Colomba", a sweet bread shaped as a dove.  Similar to the famous bread sold all over Italy at Christmas time, the "Panettone".   There are various stories to the actual origins for both of these breads, but there is a solid case to Milan being the birthplace.  I choose to make this "Pane di Pasqua" over the more popular "Colomba", only because I like the overall festive effect.  Due to strong Catholic virtues, the red colour of the eggs is to symbolise the blood of Christ.  The bread is quite dense and the aroma and taste of saffron is pure decadence.  A handy tip is to wear gloves before dying eggs, speaking from experience!!
What you need:
1kg tipo 000 flour
50g fresh yeast (purchase from bakery)

6 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
one 1/4 cup of warm milk
one teaspoon of sugar
salt 
four eggs
pinch of ground saffron 
fennel or anise seeds to taste
                                                  
How to make:
1: Sift flour in a large bowl and create well in centre
2: Warm milk, add fresh yeast and sugar and whisk.  Set aside for a minute so that the mixture starts to froth (this is the yeast activating).  Crush the saffron treads as fine as possible and add to mixture
3: Pour the mixture into the centre of the sifted flour.  With a fork start to fold the flour in from the outside and start mixing together.  Once combined with a fork, use your hands to combine and knead on a floured bench for 5-10 minuets.  Add a little more warm milk, oil, or flour to desired texture.  The dough should be shiny and elastic and should spring back when pushed with finger
4: Set dough aside for 1 1/2, covered with a tea towel in a warm, dark place
5: Use oiled hands to re-knead the dough for 2-3 minuets. Cover again and set aside in a warm, dark place for another hour
6: Put dough on bench, use oiled hands to quickly knead, cut into three equal parts and roll each part into a long sausage like shape.  Also hold the dough up and let it naturally fall and stretch.
7: Place three separate pieces of dough on oven tray lined with baking paper.  Plait the dough to desired shape.  Brush dough with milk/oil wash.  Sprinkle with fennel seeds
8: Place pre dyed eggs in desired position
9: Bake in pre-heated 220 degrees oven for 30-40 minutes
10: Allow to cool on rack and enjoy warm
Use food colouring to dye eggs.  Although traditionally eggs were dyed using various vegetables.
Buona Pasqua

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