Cuzzupe di Pasqua – Easter Bread with Colored Eggs
Growing up Italian, every day in the kitchen was a special occasion, especially at Easter time!! Everybody in our family baked a sweet bread that we called cuzzupe, more known in Region of Calabria. These symbolic breads are decorated with whole eggs still in the shell. The eggs are nestled into the surface of the dough, held in place with criss-crossed strips of dough, representing the crucifix, and baked along with the bread. These decorative breads, symbols of Christ’s resurrection, are given to children, with boys receiving a braided loaf and girls a loaf in the shape of a doll.
My Nonna used to bake these breads every year when we lived in Calabria and my Mamma continued this tradition in Canada every since. My job was making sure everyone was assigned a cuzzupa. I always looked forward to my “pupa” (“doll”) at Easter time. In fact, Pupa is what I call my daughter Sofia, because she is my sweet doll. So this week I started talking about this lost tradition and it excited me up to bake these breads for my kids. Here is a recipe that is easy to follow. Buona Pasqua!
|Cucina di Calabria by Mary Amabile Palmer, Faber and Faber, Inc. 1999
Adapted by StarChefs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter with the sugar and salt until light and fluffy. Gradually add egg, milk, and lemon extract. Mix well. Stir in the flour and baking powder and mix until smooth.
For a ring, remove the dough from the bowl to a floured surface. Cut away ¼ of the dough and set aside. Shape the remaining dough in a large enough to hold 8 eggs. Pinch the edges together. Place the ring on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Press the eggs gently into dough. Roll out the reserved dough and cut into 16 strips. Cross 2 strips over each egg to form a cross, pressing the edges into the bottom dough. Brush the strips with melted butter. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes or until the ring is medium to golden brown and cooked through.