RECIPE: Italian Easter Bread

The cover of the St. Joseph Riverside Hospital Auxiliary "Recipe Book" from 1976.

The cover of the St. Joseph Riverside Hospital Auxiliary “Recipe Book” from 1976.

ITALIAN EASTER BREAD | RECIPE by JOAN V. CASAMENTO
INGREDIENTS

6 eggs

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound butter

2 cups milk

2 tablespoons vanilla

1/2 teaspoon anise oil*

1 large package yeast

6-8 cups flour

* (The original recipe called for 1/2 box anise seeds, but no actual quantity was given, so we consulted the Internet and found a recipe that was similar to this one. We substituted a 1/2 teaspoon of anise oil for the unspecified quantity of seeds. Adjust flavoring to taste.)

PREPARATION

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Soften yeast in warm water. In a medium saucepan, add milk and heat on stove till scalding. Add butter and sugar to milk; remove from stove and cool till lukewarm. Add 2 cups flour (enough to form a soft dough – not sticky) and mix well. Beat eggs; add beaten eggs and yeast to dough mixture. Continue adding flour to make a soft, smooth dough. Knead until smooth. Let rise until dough doubles in size. Punch down. Shape into braids and place onto greased baking sheets; cover and let double in size. Bake 1 hour or until done. Cool loaves and decorate with frosting. See recipe below.

EASY FROSTING – Combine 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and enough milk to make a thin frosting, but not too thin. Optional (from the original recipe): add coconut flakes, small jelly beans and marshmallow chicks. Editor’s note: In some recipes, bakers imbed colored hardboiled eggs into the braided dough. Others dust the dough with sprinkles.

ABOUT THE RECIPE AND COOKBOOK – This recipe comes from the St. Joseph’s Riverside Hospital Auxiliary “Recipe Book” from 1976. It featured recipes from Warren-area residents. The cookbook project included Mrs. Bernard T. Dusza, chairwoman, and Miss Wilma Suty, c0-chairwoman. The project committee included Mrs. Patrick O’Neal, Mrs. Maron Sibly, Mrs. Lewis Paquet, Mrs. John Disceni, Mrs. Guy Florio, Mrs. Robert March, Mrs. George Pantelas, Mrs. Ralph Verioti, Mrs. Paul Stazen, Mrs. Domingo Villareal, Mrs. Joseph McCardell, Mrs. James Pipino, Mrs. Paul Zerbi, Mrs. George Ralph, Mrs. Charles Hogan, Mrs. Leonard Nelson, Mrs. Nick Santucci, Mrs. Joseph Santucci, Mrs. Phyllis Morgan, Mrs. Leo Barboza and Miss Catherine Nosich. The cookbook also featured sketches and a cover design by Carole Barboza.

WHERE WE FOUND IT – We purchased the cookbook at the Easter Seals sale at the Ridgeview Plaza in Warren. It  joins the “Homeplate” archive of local cookbooks. To donate a cookbook of local interest to the archive, email info@metromonthly.net. Put COOKBOOK in the message field. Thanks.

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