Ingredients: Per 6 servings
- 1 lb all-purpose flour
- ½ oz fresh yeast
- 3 oz sugar
- 3 oz lard
- ¼ cup water
- ¼ cup anise liqueur
- half lemon zest, grated
- 2 eggs
- salt to taste
- 1 whisked egg
- egg, per ring
Begin by preparing the starter (biga in Italian), which will improve the leavening of the dough. To make the starter, mix together 1/3 of the flour, the yeast and water in a bowl. Mix until smooth and uniform. Then shape the starter into a ring and, to make it rise quickly, place it in the bottom of a bowl of hot water so that it is completely covered.
In the meantime, use the remaining dough to make a well on a flat work surface. To the middle, add the sugar, salt, lard and grated lemon peel.
As soon as the starter floats to the top of the bowl, it has finished rising. It can now be removed from the water and placed in the center of the well with the other ingredients. Also add the eggs and anise liquor. Mix everything together for a long time, preferably using a mixer, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
Shape the dough into a ball and dust with flour. Let rise in a glass bowl, covered with a sheet of plastic wrap, in a warm place for about half an hour.
Once the dough is done rising, divide the dough into as many cakes as you would like to make. Roll each piece into a long, thick log.
Shape each log into the form you prefer (a ring, an eight or a braid). Place the raw eggs (in their shells) in the middle of any holes in the dough.
Place the rings on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Cover with sheet of plastic wrap or and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes in a warm place.
Once the dough is done rising, brush it with whisked egg and bake in a 400° F overn for 40 minutes or until golden.
Eggs are often associated with Easter and are considered a symbol of birth and life, given that many living beings start off as eggs. The tradition of giving eggs as gifts can be traced back to the Persians who used to exchange eggs at the beginning of Spring, while the custom of decorating eggs was popular in ancient Egypt. The tradition of exchanging eggs for Easter, however, dates back to the Middle Ages, beginning in 837 AC when it was prohibited to eat animal products during Lent. During the forty days prior to Easter, eggs were conserved and decorated. Beginning in the 12th century, the eggs were blessed and given to servants and children as part of a ritual called “Benedictio ovorum.” This is where the tradition of exchanging Easter eggs all began, well before the arrival of chocolate in Europe. Originally, eggs were painted in various colors and given to children in the streets of Europe as an Easter present. The tradition of chocolate Easter eggs probably began as late as the 19th century.
Did you known that...
according to tradition, when France was ruled by the Monarchy, the largest egg laid by a hen during Holy Week was given to the King?
Other suggested recipes
This dish is part of our special Easter menu
- Colomba – Easter Dove Cake
- Pinza Goriziana (Traditional Easter Cake from Gorizia)
- Pastiera (traditional Neapolitan cake)