Planning an Easter egg hunt tomorrow? How about hiding those decorated ovals someplace you’d least expect to find them? That is, unless you’re familiar with the traditional Italian Easter bread called Pastelli di Pasqua (Bread of Easter). Brightly colored hard-boiled eggs are embedded into the braids of this slightly sweet dough, making it one of the more festive Easter heirloom recipes. Not only is the bread fun to look at, but also Pastelli di Pasqua is absolutely delicious when eaten plain or sliced and toasted with a little butter! Greece has it’s own version of the braided loaf called Tsoureki (pronounced too-reki). Both the Greek and Italian varieties are similar in flavor and texture to Jewish Challah bread. Normally, this recipe for Pastelli di Pasqua makes one large braided loaf or round. But in the spirit of Easter time fun, I’ve divided the dough into six braided rings, each one displaying a single colorful egg in the center. This is a great recipe to do with or for the kids in your life. It’s perhaps a new way to play Easter egg “hide and seek” with a recipe that’s centuries old.
It was always the elegant “signature dish” reserved for special occasions like weddings or a New Year’s Eve celebration. Beef or Salmon Wellington with its beautiful puff pastry encasement was truly the fine dining darling of the 1960’s.
But take away the fête factor, and you have a fabulous weeknight or Sunday supper that turns a fresh piece of salmon into something really wonderful–especially if you give it a quick grill before enrobing it with dough. This recipe also included the ingredients for a classic Duxelles–that magical blend of butter, garlic, shallot and finely chopped mushrooms. That’s the second layer of deliciousness. The third is a layer of fresh, tender baby spinach. Slice through the layers of delicate puff pastry and enjoy the show!