Italian Easter Bread–Dolce di Pasqua

by cakeduchess on April 23, 2011 · 29 comments

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Last week we baked our first batch of Easter loaves. I rolled dough into mini loaves and I braided them. We made about 8 of these lovely little sweet loaves. Then I turned on the oven while they were still rising.


I didn’t realize that my mother-in-law placed them in the cold oven with towels on them to rise. The towels stuck to the tops of our pretty braids. The flavor was incredible, but I ruined the aesthetic appeal of our hard baking work in a quick error.

I may never be forgiven.

So we baked some more Easter bread yesterday. Two bigger braided loaves. One for us and one for our neighbors. Teresa was praying. She is usually always praying when she isn’t baking. But it was Good Friday. So she prayed and baked simultaneously. After she whipped up the two loaves, she went outside to pray the Rosary.

Teresa came back to check on her pretty bread. Her lips were quietly saying saying the prayers. In one hand she had her light blue Rosary clutched tightly between her fingers. In her right hand she deftly removed the bread from the oven. I told her she should be careful and put down her Rosary as she may burn herself. She responded, “Devo finire il mio preghiere o no?” Don’t I have to finish my prayer? She finished her prayer.
This time the baking was a success.

I got to know my mother-in-law a little better this time. I’ve known her for 11 years, but this visit with her was different. Maybe it was because she was here at my house. She told me more stories and shared a little bit more of her life. I found out today she had a Panificio (a bread shop)in Italy for 4 years when my husband was a little boy. No wonder she is a bread making genius. A humble genius.

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Before she baked, she made gnocchi with Gabriella. Teresa couldn’t believe how fast Gabriella was in cutting the gnocchi. Gabriella told her, “Nonna, I’ve made gnocchi before.”

They were light as a feather and delicious with her fresh tomato/basil sauce.

The simplest meals are sometimes the most memorable.
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I took them to The Breakers last week. It is one of the most beautiful hotels in the world. My sister-in-law works there. We went there before I had my surgery, but they didn’t charge their camera battery and as soon as we entered The Breakers parking lot, the camera died. I promised I would bring them back before they left. Here we are in the Circle Dining Room that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. A stunning room where the guests eat breakfast every morning. My in-laws are very simple people. This was luxury like they hadn’t seen before.

That’s me with Teresa and Domenico in the Circle Dining Room.
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Today we went to the zoo with Luca! I couldn’t wait to show her the incredible flamingos and Scarlett Ibis. Birds with the most magnificent colors. Birds I see every time I go to the zoo. Birds that they have never seen in Italy.
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I decided to not post Teresa’s Easter bread recipe. She told me if she knew how to use a computer, she would have already been working on her book.

I would like to share with you some gorgeous breads I came across this week. Enjoy! (if you have a link to an Easter bread and would like to share it here, go ahead on your comment!!Smile)

Jennifer Perillo’s Italian Easter Bread
Reeni’s Italian Easter Bread
Nana’s Mamu Saia (Estonian raisin bread)
Just a Pinch Italian Easter Bread
Kathy’s Italian Easter Bread

My time with my in-laws is coming to an end. Five weeks of oodles of pleasure and some pain are coming to a conclusion.

I will miss the smell of peperonata cooking at 9 AM.
I will miss cleaning up jalapeno seeds from my kitchen counter.
I will miss going by the vegetable market to buy more tomatoes and eggplant.
I will miss her starter yeast on the top shelf of my fridge.
I will miss the heavenly smell of her bread baking every afternoon.
I will miss her telling me how to wash my husband’s chef jackets.
I will miss her giving Luca 10 more bites of pasta when he said he was full already.
I will miss watching the cooking shows with her and hearing her funny observations about how big every thing is here in America (big washing machines and dryers, big cars, big apple pies).

If you celebrate Easter, I wish you a blessed and Happy Easter! Buona Pasqua! See you here next week. Smile

{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Cher April 23, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Happy Easter, Lora!

Loved the story about the bread – and the ever so common oven-pre-heat issue. I know I have done some doosies with pre-heating & not remembering what was already in the oven…

The bread does look lovely, though.

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Jennie April 23, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Lora, it sounds like this visit was a much needed one for your whole family, on so many levels. I say you help Teresa get that book written once you’re ready.

Have a very Happy Easter!

Love, Jennie

p.s. thanks for including a link to my Easter Bread recipe too. The girls and I just finished making the dough, and now they’re patiently waiting for it to rise.

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foodwanderings April 23, 2011 at 8:22 pm

I love your stories and tweets about your MIL. The starter yeast waiting in the fridge, just got me smiling, always ready for the next loaf. You are leading such a wonderful life of food weaved through Italian culture and history. Thank you for sharing your stories and as to the the recipe I can’t wait for the book to come out!! Was so nice talking to you on the phone earlier. Happy Easter my friend! Shulie

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Pegasuslegend April 23, 2011 at 8:24 pm

Buono Pasqua~ to you and your family!

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SMITH BITES April 23, 2011 at 8:28 pm

Lora ~ i cannot tell you how happy i am with reading this post; am grateful for the time you have spent w/your mother-in-law and that you’ve shared her with us – i LOVE her!! i’m grateful that your surgery went well and that you are going to be fine; i’m grateful for your friendship and i’m grateful for all those things you will miss . . . because it tells me of your generous heart and how much you love your family . . . Happy Easter Lora!

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Angela@RecipesFromMyMom April 23, 2011 at 8:30 pm

I’m going to miss so many of the Teresa stories and observations too. Looks like your FIL is feeling better. Happy Easter to you and your family!

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Ilke April 23, 2011 at 8:33 pm

Happy Easter to you too! When the family leaves, it is a difficult moment every time in my house as well. I wish you shared her recipe but I guess we will just have to wait for her cookbook! You should help her if this is what she wants to do! :)

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Barbara April 23, 2011 at 8:37 pm

I have only discovered your blog today. Your MIL sounds wonderful. Happy Easter.

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Chris April 23, 2011 at 9:01 pm

Häid lihavõttepühi to you too Lora (that’s Happy Easter in Estonian)

I am jealous of all that lovely Italian food, and oh my gosh – yeast starter?? peperonata? Can I borrow your mother in law for a week please? :-)

Thanks for linking the recipe to my grandmother’s raisin bread – I brought about half the loaf to the farm I work at on Thursdays, and it was devoured in huge hunks plain, sans butter, and I think there was only a small piece left by the time I left :) It does keep very well just simply wrapped in tin foil.

I love hearing about your extended family, and I love trying your Italian recipes even more :)

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A Thought For Food April 23, 2011 at 9:13 pm

I just recently learned what Easter bread is and now I’m dying to know what it tastes like… another lovely post, Lora!

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Allison April 23, 2011 at 9:26 pm

Looks so great! I’m going to tag this post for next year!
:)

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briarrose April 23, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Wonderful post. :)

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Lana April 23, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Every child deserves an Old Country Grandmother:) This was a truly beautiful post, Lora! Cosa saremmo senza la famiglia? Buona Pasqua a te e i tuoi:)

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Rebecca from Chow and Chatter April 24, 2011 at 12:10 am

wonderful post really enjoyed it full of family and life hugs and happy Easter

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Jenny @ Fitness Health and Food April 24, 2011 at 1:08 am

what a beautiful family and love filled post!

Food and family are so tightly intertwined! :) Thank you for sharing! :)

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spcookiequeen April 24, 2011 at 2:32 am

Buona Pasqua to you and your family. So beautiful, I will miss Teresa too. Hope you and your family have a love filled day tomorrow!
-Gina-

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Paula April 24, 2011 at 7:04 pm

There is some good to be found in everything. If not for you having to have had this surgery, this precious time with your mother-in-law would probably not have occurred. Thank you for sharing the blessing of her visit during your recovery with us. I shall miss your posts with Teresa in them. This was a beautiful farewell tribute to her and her wonderful cooking and baking.

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Karen April 24, 2011 at 10:12 pm

I would miss all those things too! It sounds like you had a great time together. All these breads must be amazing!
Hope you’re feeling better day by day…

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baking.serendipity April 25, 2011 at 3:54 am

I love this post and the insight to your Italian family. I feel like I’m learning so much about the Italian culture from you all :) Happy Easter :) Wishing you a fantastic week!

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Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Grow April 25, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Some family recipes have to be kept for the family. What an amazing visit you are having, I am insanely jealous of the wonderful food!

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chefpandita.com April 25, 2011 at 12:54 pm

I’m gonna miss Teresa! She should start her own blog :)

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marla April 25, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Lora, thanks for sharing your family and this beautiful Easter bread with us. Your MIL sounds like a blast. A woman with a great deal of life experience and baking skills. The Breakers is gorgeous, went there as a kid – wish I could go back :)

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Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking April 25, 2011 at 3:48 pm

What a wonderful Easter weekend it sounds like you had, and a beautiful bread to celebrate! It sounds like you have such a special relationship with your mother in law, too. You’re very blessed, Lora! Thank you for sharing your lovely photos and description of the weekend. XO

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tinytearoom April 26, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I bake often, but I use my oven for storage for trays, cake pans etc. I just take them out and put them on the kitchen bench when I need to bake something… if I remember. Sometimes I pre-heat the oven and leave all those things in there.

Thank you for sharing your easter story.

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Lizzy April 27, 2011 at 11:51 am

Such a lovely post…and what a touching list about what you’ll miss about your MIL. I adore my MIL, too. So sorry about your first bread fiasco…let me tell you, I’ve done that sort of thing a lot :) What a gorgeous Easter bread…I hope to try something like it next Easter! xo

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Diethood.com April 27, 2011 at 8:17 pm

This is such a beautiful post… very heartfelt and touching.
I laughed at the “10 extra bites for Luca” because I actually got into a itty bitty argument with my MIL because of that…she just kept shoving food in Ana’s mouth even though Ana was crying and screaming “NOOOO!”. :)

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Emily Malloy April 27, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Absolutely lovely!! Happy Easter to you!

Gorgeous Easter bread.

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Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels April 28, 2011 at 5:47 am

I’ve never had Italian Easter bread before and now I want to try it. Actually I want to eat all of the Italian food at your house! :)

Your MIL is too funny. I loved hearing all of the stories about her! :)

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Alice Choi October 16, 2012 at 5:16 pm

What a gorgeous Italian Easter bread! and I love the story about your mother-in-law. . and time you got to spend with them during their visit! Both of my husband’s parents passed away in a car accident long before we even met. . anyway, I always dreamed of having a great relationship with my MIL but that wasn’t an option for me. Most of the time, from girl friends, I hear horrible stories about their MIL’s so it’s refreshing to hear a lovely story like this! :) LOVE!

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