Tsoureki: It’s a traditional soft and sweet Greek Easter bread with decorative red-dyed, hard-boiled eggs braided into the dough. The red eggs are just for decorative purposes and should not be eaten.
6 hard boiled red-dyed eggs
2 tsp dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm milk
3 1/2 cups (420 grams) bread flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp aniseed
1 tbsp grated orange zest
1/4 cup melted butter
3 tbsp sugar
2 eggs, raw
2-3 tbsp milk
1. In a mixing bowl, add 1 cup of flour, yeast, and the lukewarm milk. Stir to combine and leave at room temperature for about 5 minutes until bubbles start to appear at the surface.
2. In the meantime, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the two raw eggs and mix some more. Stir in the orange zest, aniseed, and salt.
3. Add the creamed sweet butter to the spongy yeast mixture.
4. With the dough hook on, start mixing, slowly adding enough flour to make a smooth elastic dough, about 2 1/2 cups.
5. Take the dough out and place it into a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until doubled in volume.
6. When the dough is risen, punch down and divide the dough into 6 pieces. Shape each piece into a rope and braid two loaves. Tuck 3 eggs into each bread.
7. Cover and let rise again for another 30-40 minutes.
8. Meanwhile heat the oven to 375 degrees.
9. Just before baking, brush the loaves with milk, and sprinkle some slivered almonds on top.
10. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden, and leave to cool before slicing into it.
Recipe courtesy of Roxana’s Home Baking
Easter Lamb Cake: The cake is as the name implies — a 3D mold of a lamb decorated in frosting and other fruits, depending on the recipe.
A seasoned cast-iron lamb mold
1 (16-ounce) pound cake mix
1 recipe Cream Cheese Frosting (see below)
Sweetened flaked coconut
Green food coloring
1. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Using a pastry brush, coat the interior surfaces of both halves of a seasoned lamb cake mold with solid vegetable shortening, making sure you get into all the crevices. Place halves on a baking sheet, open side up, and heat for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Pour off any excess shortening. Reduce heat to 350 degrees.
2. Prepare pound cake mix according to box instructions. Place front half on baking sheet and fill with batter to the lip, 1/4" from the top. Submerge a toothpick in each ear to reinforce them. Place back half of the mold on top of the front. Place in oven and bake about 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the vent holes of the lamb come out clean.
3. Remove from oven and place on cooling rack for 15 minutes. Carefully remove the back end of the mold, inserting a knife between the mold edges if they are stuck together. Allow to cool an additional 5 minutes. Place another rack on the lamb cake and carefully flip it over and remove the front half of the mold. Let cool completely lying on its back.
4. Place a dab of Cream Cheese Frosting on an oblong platter, and set the lamb on top. Frost all sides of lamb, swirling it to represent lamb's wool.
5. Wrap a narrow red ribbon around the lamb's neck. Use raisins for eyes and nose, cutting them in half if necessary to make them more proportional. Place coconut and green food coloring in a zip-top bag and shake it to color the coconut. Place green "grass" around the lamb.
Recipe courtesy of About.com
Easter Bun: It’s a moist, spiced bread that many people recommend eating with a slice of aged cedar cheese.
½ bottle stout (optional)
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
¾ cup brown sugar
2 eggs beaten
½ tbsp browning
1 tablespoon molasses
½ pint milk
2 tbsp melted butter
½ cup raisins soaked in water or liquor
½ cup mixed peel
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice or mixed spice
1 tbsp cherries
½ tbsp allspice
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Warm the stout on low flame.
2. Add browning, sugar, molasses, and butter.
3. Stir until dissolved. Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices.
4. Add chopped fruits — ensure raisins are drained — to the mixture.
5. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture. Bake in a greased loaf pan for 1 to 1 ¼ hours.
6. Remove from oven when ready, and allow to cool. Glaze with sugar water. Honey and melted butter can also be used.
Recipe courtesy Of All Recipes
Easter Grain Pie: The ricotta pie with berries is a common Easter dessert for many Italians. An original Neapolitan dessert made it way across the ocean and is now a very common Easter staple for Italian-Americans.
5 cups water
1/2 cup whole wheat berries
1 cup white sugar
1 (8 ounce) package mixed candied fruit
1 1/2 pounds ricotta cheese
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp grated lemon zest
2 tsp grated orange zest
1 tbsp shortening
1 tsp salt
2 pastries for 9-inch lattice-top pies
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar for dusting
1. Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan. Pour in wheat and allow to boil 40 minutes. As wheat is cooking, beat eggs in a large bowl while gradually adding 1 cup sugar to eggs. Mix in fruit, ricotta, vanilla extract, cinnamon, lemon rind, and orange rind.
2. When wheat is ready, drain in a colander and rinse with warm water. Place 3/4 cup of cooked wheat in a small bowl, and mix in shortening and salt. Stir until shortening is melted, then stir wheat mixture into ricotta mixture along with the rest of the cooked wheat berries.
3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
4. Line two 9-inch pie pans with pastry. Cut remaining pastry into strips for tops of pies. Spoon half of filling into each pan. Cover with pastry strips to form lattice tops. Crimp edges.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Sprinkle each pie with 1 tablespoon sugar and allow to cool at room temperature. Chill overnight before serving. Store any leftovers in refrigerator.
Recipe courtesy Of All Recipes
Habichuelas con Dulce: Another Easter specialty that some categorize as too rich or filling.
2 lbs. of red or pinto beans
3 cups evaporated milk or (2 cans)
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp of salt
1½ cups sugar or to taste
1 tsp of vanilla extract
18 sweet cloves
2 lbs. sweet potatoes
3 cinnamon sticks
1 cup of raisins
1 package sweet Dominican vanilla milk cookies or cassava bread
1. Soaked the beans overnight. To cook, place beans in a big pot and cover with cold water (make sure the beans are always submerged in plenty of water as the juice is needed to blend them later). A pressure cooker can be also used.
2. Cook the beans until they are tender approximately 1 ½ hours in a regular pot, or 30 minutes in a pressure cooker.
3. Once tender, remove them from the heat and let them cool down. In a blender, mix the beans with their cooking liquid, and then sift them through a colander.
4. Return the beans' pulp to the blender, and repeat the process until all the beans are done.
5. In the meantime, peel the sweet potatoes and dice them. Boil them in a little bit of water with the cinnamon, until tender.
6. Return the cream of beans to the pot, and add the evaporated milk, coconut milk, salt, sugar, and vanilla extract.
7. Bring the mixture to a boil; reduce the heat and cook for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
8. Add the raisins and the boiled sweet potatoes with the cinnamon and the cloves wrapped in cheesecloth 20 minutes before it finishes cooking.
9. If at the end of the cooking process the sweet beans are still too liquid or loose, cook a little more until you get a medium consistency or the right consistency.
10. If they are too thick, add a little more milk.
11. Adjust sugar and salt. Add the vanilla milk cookies or the cassava bread.
12. Remove from heat and serve them hot, warm or cold. Garnish it with extra milk cookies.
Recipe courtesy of Scratch Latin Kitchen