Fugazza di Pasqua or, Italian Easter Bread
Packet of yeast
1 1/4 cup of milk
1/3 cup of butter
about a pinch of salt
1/2 cup of sugar
3-4 cups of flour
six uncooked dyed eggs
2 cups powdered sugar
dash of vanilla
milk or warm water
Scald your milk and then bring it to room temperature, maybe a little warmer than that.
Combine yeast, warm milk, salt, butter, eggs (beaten), anise and sugar. Mix to combine gently.
Add about 1 3/4 cups of flour and work until smooth. (This is traditionally done by hand, but if you want to use the dough hook option on your mixer, by all means go right ahead) Continue to add flour until dough becomes stiff and not sticky.
Place on lightly floured board and knead (this part must be done by hand, sorry!) until its nice and smooth. Place in a buttered bowl in a nice warm place covered and let it do its thing for about an hour. It should double.
Once dough has risen, punch down and cut into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a long log a little over a foot long and about and inch in thickness. You should end up with 12 long longs.
Take two and pinch at one end and braid them over each other. Then pinch the braid into a circle. Like this:
Make six little wreaths.
Dye six UNCOOKED eggs into your favorite colors and let dry. Place an egg in the center of each wreath.
Egg wash (an egg or two and a tsp of water) each wreath, NOT THE EGGS. They should look like this: (not my picture, I don't put jimmies on until the end).
Bake at 350 for about 25 mins or until golden. (check after 20 mins)
** The eggs will cook, don't worry. Just remember not to use COLD eggs. Make sure they are room temperature, or they might not cook.
After the breads cool, make a glaze with the powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and a few teaspoons of either milk or warm water, until you get a nice consistency.
Brush or drizzle glaze over the bread part and then sprinkle with jimmies.
The Rotund Chef