Easter Bread Wreath

Easter Bread Wreath

 

Starter

1 cup unbleached all purpose flour

1/2 cup cool water

1/8 teaspoon instant yeast

Dough

2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 1/4 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons instant yeast

1/3 cup granulated sugar

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract + 1/4 teaspoon orange oil

1/4 teaspoon ground anise seed, optional

Grated peel of 1 large orange

Glaze

1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted

2 to 3 tablespoons orange juice or milk

Sprinkles or nonpareils, for decorating

Directions

To make the bread: Mix together the starter ingredients, cover the bowl, and let rest at room temperature overnight, or for up to 15 hours.

Next day, combine the bubbly starter with all the remaining dough ingredients. Mix and knead, using a mixer or bread machine, until the dough is elastic and satiny.

Grease a large bowl and let the dough rise for 1 to 2 hours, until it’s noticeably puffy.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased surface, divide it into three pieces, and shape each piece into an 18″-long rope. Braid the ropes together, and connect the two ends to form a wreath.

Cover the wreath and allow it to rise until puffy, about 1 to 2 hours. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Bake the wreath for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350°F and bake for an additional 20 minutes, tenting it for the final 10 minutes of baking. The finished loaf will be golden brown, and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center will register at least 190°F.

Remove the wreath from the oven, and transfer it to a rack to cool.

To make the glaze: Stir together the sugar and 2 tablespoons of the milk or orange juice. Add more liquid 1/4 teaspoon at a time, until the glaze is thin and pourable.

Drizzle the glaze onto the cooled braid then decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

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EASTER HAM & POTATO SKILLET

Ham-and-Potato-Skillet

 

Ingredients

1 lb sliced ham

1 tbsp margarine

1 tbsp brown sugar

101/2 ounces cream of mushroom soup

2/3 cup evaporated milk

1/3 cup water

1/4 cup onion (chopped)

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

3 cups potatoes (thinly sliced)

1 cup sliced raw carrots

Directions

In 10″ skillet brown ham in butter and brown sugar. Remove ham and pour off the fat.  Mix in same skillet, the soup, milk, water, onion, salt & pepper. Stir in 3 c thinly sliced potatoes and carrots.  Cover, cook over low heat stirring now and then, until veggies are tender, about 35 minutes. Lift veggies from the bottom so they don’t stick.  Place whole ham slice or cut in serving size pieces and place on top of veggies. Cover and cook about 10 minutes more.

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sliders

Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken Sliders

 

Ingredients

For the chicken

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts

1½ cups BBQ Sauce

2 Tbsp. butter

For the Easy Ranch Dressing

1 buttermilk ranch packet

1 cup + 2 Tbsp. buttermilk

1 cup mayo

⅛ Tsp black pepper

Sourdough or Ciabatta slider buns

Olive oil

Garlic clove

 

Instructions

Place the chicken, BBQ sauce, and butter (no need to melt) into a 4-quart or larger slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours.

While the chicken is cooking prepare the ranch dressing by whisking the ranch packet, buttermilk, mayo and black pepper until smooth. Cover and refrigerate.

Shred the chicken with 2 forks right in the slow cooker.

Preheat oven to Broil.

Split the buns in half, place cut side up onto a cookie sheet.

Brush the cut sides of the buns with olive oil.

Place under the broiler for 5-7 minutes, watching carefully until browned.

Remove the buns from the oven. Cut the garlic clove tip off, and rub the garlic onto the browned split part of the buns.

Assemble the sandwiches with the chicken and ranch.

Serve with carrot and celery sticks.

EASTER DINNER SCALLOPED POTATOES

 

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Ingredients

6 sliced potatoes

1 chopped onion

¾ cup grated cheese

2 tsp. salt

Pepper

3 tbsp butter

2 tbsp flour

2 cups hot milk

Directions

Melt the butter in a sauce pan.  Add flour, salt, and pepper, and stir smooth. Slowly add in the hot milk while stirring constantly. On thickening, melt the grated cheese into the sauce. Place layers of the sliced potatoes, cheese sauce, and onions into a buttered baking dish or casserole.   Repeat until all ingredients have been used. Bake for 60 minutes at a temperature of 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Chocolate Easter Candy Eggs

Chocolate Easter Candy Eggs

These moist chocolate cake eggs harbor a delicious secret: caramel candy.

Cake

2 cups sugar

2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

2 tablespoons cornstarch

3/4 cup Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch- process cocoa

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons espresso powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups water

Filling

1 cup caramel from a block; or 3 dozen unwrapped caramel candies

Topping

3/4 cup caramel from a block, or unwrapped candies and 1 1/2 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half
Directions

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease the wells of an egg pan. Or line a muffin pan with papers, and grease the papers. Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually add the water, beating until smooth. Pour the batter into each cup of the prepared pan, bringing it to within 5/8″ of the rim of the pan. While the cakes are baking, prepare the caramel. If you’re using block caramel, scoop 1″ balls and roll them smooth between your palms. Place them in the freezer. Bake the cakes for 14 minutes. Place one ball of caramel (or 2 unwrapped caramel candies) atop each egg or muffin; it’ll sink in. Continue baking for an additional 12 minutes until cake is set and springs back when lightly touched. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Loosen cakes, and gently slip them out of the pan onto a cooling rack. Repeat with the remaining batter and caramel. When all the cakes are baked and cooled, combine the 3/4 cup caramel and cream, and heat in the microwave till very hot. Remove, and stir till smooth. Drizzle over the cakes, reheating as necessary.

Easter Cookies

Italian Easter Cookies

 

Dough
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Icing
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
4 teaspoons milk
4 teaspoons light corn syrup

Directions

Beat together the oil, butter, eggs, vanilla, salt, baking powder, and sugar until smooth. Add the flour, beating until smooth. Refrigerate the dough for at least one hour, or overnight.

Scoop the dough into 2-teaspoon-size balls; a teaspoon cookie scoop works perfectly here. Roll the balls into logs about 4 inches long and about 1/2-inch in diameter. Coil into doughnut shapes, leaving a small hole in the middle.

Place the shaped cookies on lightly greased baking sheets, leaving about 1 inch between them. Bake them in a preheated 350°F oven for about 18 minutes. They may have the merest hint of golden color on top, but they definitely won’t be brown. Remove them from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool completely before icing.

To ice the cookies: Put 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar into each of four bowls. Add 1 teaspoon milk and 1 teaspoon corn syrup to each bowl. Stir until you’ve made a soft, spreadable icing, adding more milk if necessary. Tint the icing in each bowl a different color. Dip the top of each cookie in one of the icings. Sprinkle with sugar decorations. Allow the frosting to harden before storing the cookies.

Italian Easter Pie

Easter pie, a double-crust “stuffed pizza” filled with ham, eggs, and cheese, is traditionally eaten in Italian households the day before Easter.

Crust

4 3/4 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons instant yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons nonfat dry milk

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup + 2 tablespoons lukewarm water*

*If you use all-purpose flour, increase the water to 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces)

Filling

1 dozen large eggs

1 pound good-quality, full-flavored ham

2 cups ricotta cheese, part-skim preferred

1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, lightly packed

Salt, coarsely ground black pepper, and chopped fresh parsley, to taste

Glaze

1 large egg

2 tablespoons sugar

 

Directions

Mix and knead together all of the dough ingredients — by hand, in a mixer, or in a bread machine — until you’ve made a soft, smooth dough.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover, and allow it to rise for 1 to 2 hours, until it’s quite puffy, nearly doubled in bulk. While the dough is rising, make the filling.

Hard-boil and peel 6 of the eggs.

Place the hard-boiled eggs, ham (cut in chunks), and fresh parsley (1/2 cup or so) in the work bowl of a food processor. Process until chopped and combined. Don’t over-process; the ham and eggs should still be a bit chunky. You can also simply dice the eggs and ham, and chop the parsley, if you don’t have a food processor.

Combine the ham, boiled eggs, and parsley with the raw eggs, ricotta, and Parmesan. Season to taste with salt and about 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper. If the ham is salty, you may not need any salt at all.

Deflate the dough, and divide it into four pieces.

Roll two of the dough pieces into rounds about 13″ in diameter, and place them on lightly greased or parchment-lined 12″ pizza pans. Or roll into ovals about 10″ x 14″, and place on two lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets. Note: If you’re using parchment, it’s easiest to roll right on the parchment, then lift the crusts, parchment and all, onto the pans.

Divide the filling evenly between the two crusts, covering them to within 1″ of the edges. You’ll use a generous 3 cups (about 27 ounces) for each crust.

Roll out the other two pieces of dough, and place them atop the filled crusts gently stretching them, if necessary, to cover the filling. Seal the crust edges by rolling the bottom crust up over the top, and pinching together.

Using a sharp knife or pair of scissors, cut a 1″ hole in the very center of each top crust; this will allow steam to escape.

Make the topping by whisking together the egg and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Paint each crust with some of the topping; this will yield a golden brown, shiny crust with mildly sweet flavor, a perfect foil for the salty ham.

Allow the pies to rest while you preheat your oven to 350°F, about 15 minutes. They don’t need to be covered.

Bake the pies for about 25 minutes, until they’re a deep, golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and carefully slide them off the pan/parchment and onto on a rack to cool.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Refrigerate any leftovers.

Easter Dinner Sirloin Tip Roast

Sirloin-Tip-Roast-Recipe

 

Ingredients

3 pounds of beef sirloin tip roast, trimmed of all visible fat

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and halved

1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 F

Secure the roast with cooking twine.

Make 8 (1/2 inch) slits around the roast, and insert ½ a garlic clove into each slit.

Sprinkle with fresh ground pepper.

Place on a rack in a roasting pan.

Roast in preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Reduce heat to 325 F and insert meat thermometer into roast.

Continue cooking for about 1 hour, or to desired doneness, then remove from the oven.

Loosely cover with foil, and let the roast stand for 15 minutes before slicing.

To serve, slice as thinly as possible against the grain.

EASTER DINNER CREAMED SPINACH

easter-dinner-creamed-spinach

  Ingredients

2 gallons spinach

1 tablespoon butter

2 teaspoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

A dash of pepper

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 cup milk

Directions

Wash spinach well. Sprinkle with salt and cook until soft. Do not add water. Once spinach is tender, remove and chop it very fine. Melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour to the butter and mix. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly until the mixture reaches a thick consistency. Combine the mixture with the chopped spinach.  Add a dash of pepper and the nutmeg, and serve.

Easter Hot Cross Buns

Easter Hot Cross Rolls

 

Ingredients 

Buns

1/4 cup apple juice or rum

1/2 cup mixed dried fruit

1/2 cup raisins or dried currants

1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature

3 large eggs, 1 separated

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

2 teaspoons instant yeast

1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves or allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 3/4 teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

4 1/2 cups Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

Topping

1 large egg white

1 tablespoon milk

Icing

1 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

4 teaspoons milk, or enough to make a thick icing

 

Directions

Lightly grease a 10″ square pan or 9″ x 13″ pan.

Mix the rum or apple juice with the dried fruit and raisins, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave briefly, just till the fruit and liquid are very warm, and the plastic starts to “shrink wrap” itself over the top of the bowl. Set aside to cool to room temperature. Note: If you worry about using plastic wrap in your microwave, simply cover the bowl with a glass lid.

When the fruit is cool, mix together all of the dough ingredients except the fruit, and knead, using an electric mixer or bread machine, till the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and any liquid not absorbed.

Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though may not double in bulk.

Divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3 3/4 ounces each. A heaped muffin scoop (about 1/3 cup) makes about the right portion. You’ll make 12 to 14 buns. Use your greased hands to round them into balls. Arrange them in the prepared pan.

Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they’ve puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 375°F.

Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns.

Bake the buns for 20 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove from the oven, and transfer to a rack to cool.

Mix together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe it in a cross shape atop each bun.