Easter is kind of a nonevent since my kids grew up. However, at Molly’s Cafe, I hosted a few Easter events. One was a dinner, with roast beef instead of ham. You can get ham in Istanbul, but it is hard to find and rather expensive. Some of it is imported and some is locally grown for the Greek and Armenian people. At the first dinner, Donovan Mixon played for us.
Another time I hosted a brunch for a lot of German and German speaking Turkish ladies. I also had brunch at the third cafe.
At the very least, I had hard-boiled eggs available for people to paint and those usually turned out pretty cool.
Happy Easter and happy baking. I hope the Easter bunny brings you lots of chocolate.
This is something I usually made.
Easter Bread Ring
This is a really pretty Easter bread.
¼ cup (25 gr) sugar
1 tsp (5 ml) salt
1 tbsp (15 ml) dry yeast
3 cups (360 gr) flour
2/3 cup (160 ml) milk
1 tbsp (15 ml) butter
2 eggs, room temperature
½ cup (50 gr) mixed candied fruit (or use dried cranberries or raisins)
1/3 cup (30 gr) chopped blanched almonds (or use walnuts or pecans)
½ tsp (1 ml) anise seed (you can skip this if you like)
2 tbsp (30 ml) melted butter
3 tbsp (45 ml) multicoloured sprinkles
Colour the 5 eggs with food dye.
In a large mixing bowl, blend the sugar, salt and yeast with 1 cup flour.
In a saucepan, combine 2/3 cup milk and butter, heating slowly until liquid is warm and butter is melted. Pour the milk into the dry ingredients and beat 125 strokes with a wooden spoon;. Add eggs and enough flour to make a thick batter. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. Stir in enough flour to make a ball of dough that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, working in additional flour to overcome stickiness. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover tightly with plastic or a tea towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Combine the fruit, nuts, and anise seed. Punch down the dough and return it to a lightly floured surface. Knead in the fruit mixture until everything is worked into the dough. Divide the dough in half.
Carefully roll each piece into a 24 inch (60 cm) rope. Loosely twist the two ropes together and form a ring on a greased baking sheet. Pinch the ends together well. Brush the dough with melted butter. Push aside the twist to make a place for each egg. Push eggs down carefully as far as possible. Cover the bread and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) deg.
Bake about 35 min or until a toothpick inserted in a twist comes out clean. Once the bread is cool, drizzle the icing on top between the eggs and decorate with coloured sprinkles.
1 cup (100 gr) powdered sugar
1 tbsp (15 ml) milk
1/8 tsp (.5 ml) vanilla
Mix together until of spreadable consistency.
Refrigerator Roll Dough
This recipe can be used for a variety of purposes.
1 tbsp (15 ml) yeast
1 ½ cups (360 ml) warm water (leftover water from cooking potatoes is good)
1 cup unseasoned mashed potatoes
2/3 cup (130 gr) sugar
2/3 cup (125 gr) butter
1 ½ tsp (7 ml) salt
6 to 7 cups (700 to 850 gr) flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in potatoes, sugar, butter, eggs, salt, and 3 cups (400 gr) of the flour. Beat until smooth. Mix in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover bowl tightly. Refrigerate at least 8 hours but no longer than 5 days.
Punch down dough. Use for any recipe below.
Hot Cross Buns
Use half of Refrigerator Roll Dough (or use the whole thing and double the rest of these ingredients)
¾ cups (100 gr) raisins and/or currants
½ cup (100 gr) chopped dried fruit
¼ cup (40 gr) chopped nuts
¼ tsp (1 ml) nutmeg
Turn dough onto well floured surface. Squeeze other ingredients into dough. Cut dough into 24 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball. Place about 2 inches (5 cm) apart on greased cookie sheet. Snip a cross on top of each ball with scissors. Cover. Let rise until double, about an hour.
Heat oven to 375 F (190 C) deg. Brush tops of buns with 1 egg white, slightly beaten. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. When cool, frost crosses on tops of buns with Quick Frosting.
¾ cup (150 gr) powered sugar
2 tsp (10 ml) water or milk
¼ tsp (1 ml) vanilla
Mix until frosting is smooth and of spreading consistency.