Italian Easter Bread
- 1 package dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (105 to 110 degrees F)
- 3/4 cup butter, softened
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon grated orange rind
- 1 tablespoon crushed aniseed
- 4 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- About 4 3/4 cups flour
- 1 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/3 cup almond paste
- 1 egg white beaten with 1 tablespoon water
- 3/4 to 1 cup sliced almonds
- Confectioners' sugar
- Bread: Blend yeast with warm water and allow 5 minutes for it to dissolve.
- Add butter, sugar, milk, salt, orange rind, aniseed, eggs and egg yolk.
- Add 2 cups of the flour and beat at medium speed of electric mixer for 10 minutes.
- Add 1 cup flour at low speed.
- Add 1 3/4 cups flour, stirring until well blended.
- Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let rise 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
- Punch dough down, turn out onto floured surface and knead 10 minutes.
- Gently knead in raisins.
- Divide dough into 2 balls. Form two (9 inch) flattened rounds on a greased baking
sheet. Cover lightly with greased plastic wrap and allow to rise until "puffy" (40 to 45 minutes). Make topping.
- Topping: Blend sugar, flour, butter and almond paste with electric mixer until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Brush top of rounds with egg white and water mixture. Place topping over loaves; then sprinkle with almonds. Press lightly.
- Bake in preheated 350 degrees F oven for about 30 minutes.
- Serve warm dusted with confectioners' sugar.
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