Italian Easter Bread

    Italian Easter Bread

    8saves
    3hr20min


    24 people made this

    About this recipe: This recipe is a little long-winded, but the result is really worth it. A sweet, egg-enriched, fruit and nut bread, with dyed eggs nestled on its surface. Excellent over Easter.

    Ingredients
    Serves: 1 loaf

    • 5 eggs
    • 50g caster sugar
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 (7g) sachet dried active baking yeast
    • 375g plain flour
    • 150ml milk
    • 30g butter
    • 2 eggs, room temperature
    • 120g mixed crystallised fruit, roughly chopped
    • 50g blanched almonds, chopped
    • 1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
    • 2 tablespoons melted margarine
    • 120g icing sugar
    • 1 tablespoon full fat milk
    • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3 tablespoons sugar sprinkles

    Method
    Prep:45min  ›  Cook:35min  ›  Extra time:2hr proofing  ›  Ready in:3hr20min 

    1. Colour the 5 eggs with egg dye.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, blend the caster sugar, salt, yeast and 125g flour.
    3. In a saucepan, combine 150ml milk and butter, heating slowly until liquid is warm and butter is melted. Pour the milk into the dry ingredients and beat 125 strokes with a wooden spoon.
    4. Add eggs and 65g flour at a time or enough to make a thick batter. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. Stir in enough flour to make a ball of dough that draws away from the sides of the bowl.
    5. Turn out onto a floured board and knead for about 10 minutes, working in additional flour to overcome stickiness.
    6. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover tightly with cling film and put in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
    7. Meanwhile, combine the fruit, nuts and anise seeds.
    8. Punch down the dough and return it to a lightly floured board. Knead in the fruit mixture, keeping the syrupy pieces dusted with flour until they are worked into the dough. Divide the dough in half.
    9. Carefully roll each piece into a 60cm rope. Note: the fruit and nuts will make this slightly difficult. Loosely twist the two ropes together and form a ring on a greased baking tray. Pinch the ends together well. Brush the dough with melted margarine.
    10. Push aside the twist to make a place for each egg. Push eggs down carefully as far as possible. Cover the bread with greaseproof paper and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
    11. Bake the bread in a preheated 180 C / Gas 4 oven for about 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in a twist comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.
    12. Meanwhile, make the icing. Mix together icing sugar, 1 tablespoon full fat milk and vanilla.
    13. Once the bread is cool, drizzle the icing on top between the eggs and decorate with sugar sprinkles.

    Ingredients

    If your local supermarket doesn't stock anise seed, you can find them online.

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