Pasqua: among colomba*, almond paste lambs and chocolate eggs!
The holy week in Puglia, just like in the rest of Italy is a very busy one in every kitchen.
Lots of sweet stuffs to prepare, mainly based on almond paste, breads (with a row of eggs on top), cookies and chocolate eggs of any size with a nice surprise gift inside.
Although it is a religious metaphor and many people do, being myself a vegetarian I will not encourage the killing and eating of lamb at Easter. I rather prefer the almond paste version: it is one of the best expressions of pastries here that together with “colombe”(Easter Dove cake), represents authentic, artisans artworks every family loves sharing with family and friends on their table at Easter lunch.
Many Italians actually will have colomba long after the Easter holiday, for breakfast with their cappuccino or caffé e latte (coffee and milk).
Egg is the recurrent symbol for breads and cakes: any area of the region may call it something different, according to the dialect, but it is basically made with flour, eggs, sugar and extra virgin olive oil. The dough is shaped in various way and garnished with a row of eggs and dough stripes.Lamb shaped almond paste is together with the chocolate eggs and “colomba”, the most popular Easter symbol: it is made with almonds, sugar and glaze (stuffed with chocolate and pear marmalade).
The colomba (every Italian family will serve this at Easter time) is a dove shape sweet yeast bread, topped with coarse sugar and almonds.
But Easter week is also the time of the year when amazing Focaccia bread is made (actually we always make focaccia, but at Easter time even more) stuffed with any vegetables you like and topped with eggs (what an extra job for the chickens in this time of the year).
So far it is the common focaccia bread dough shaped in different sizes, mainly garland, topped with(hard boiled) eggs and dough strips.
Bakeries and pastry shops will be overwhelmed by these traditional Easter food that locals will keep on eating until (and after most of the time) the Monday immediately after that we call “Pasquetta” (Little Easter, the Angel’s Monday) during which families and friends meet for gorgeous picnics in the countryside or by the ocean.
Chocolate eggs are the favorites of course and are the “official Easter gift” for the kids and adults as well: they contain a surprise and sometimes when it is about making a special gift between housewife and husband you can also find a jewel inside!
Buona PASQUA a tutti my dear friends!
|Baked in an outdoor overn
3 cups (400 grams) flour
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 egg yolk (set aside the white)
1 stick butter
100 gr sugar
½ tsp salt
Grated rind of 1 lemon
Grated rind of 1 small orange
1 cup flour
3/4 cup milk
1 oz fresh yeast
1 tsp sugar
100 grams sultanas (only if you like it)
50 grams almonds
1 egg – white
50 grams sugar
1 ½ tsp cornstarch
50 grams whole almonds