Not to worry, dears! Did you think the Soup Lady was about to bludgeon you with more recipes for Easter soup? No, no. You deserve something much nicer after putting up with all that and here it is: Easter Bread.
This is a sweet yeast bread flavored with anise and filled with dried fruits and nuts. The colored eggs are baked right into it and the idea is that on Easter morning, you take a thick slice that surrounds an egg and there's your breakfast. I found this recipe many years ago in a ladies' magazine within an advertisement for yeast. every year, I would trot it out and produce a lovely two-ton unrisen bread. It was just a pretty face - dense, heavy, even difficult to cut. But this year it turned out just as it always should have.
2 3/4 - 3 1/2cups of flour
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp. of salt
1 package of dry yeast
2 tablespoons of butter
2 eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup of candied fruit
1/4 cup of chopped almonds
1/2 teaspoon of anise seed
5 raw colored eggs
Combine 1 cup of flour with the sugar, salt and yeast. Heat milk and butter slowly over low heat until liquid is warm and butter is melted. Add to the dry ingredients and beat for 2 minutes at medium speed. Add 2 eggs and 1/2 cup of flour then beat at high speed for 2 more minutes.Stir in enough flour to make a soft dough.
Turn onto a floured board and knead for 8-10 minutes. Place into a greased bowl and turn to grease top. Cover, let rise until doubled (about one hour).
Punch down the dough and trun out onto a floured board. Knead in the candied fruits, nuts and anise seeds. Divide in half and roll each slice of dough into a 24" long rope. Twist together loosely and form a ring on a greased baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
Place the uncooked colored eggs in the spaces of the twist. Cover and let rise until doubles in volume (about one hour.) Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes. Remove from sheet and cool. Optional: Skip the sesame seeds and frost the ring with one cup of powdered sugar that has had 1 tablespoon of milk added and decorate with colored sprinkles.
Is it not lovely? The eggs cook as the bread does and they will be completely done and safe to eat. The temptation will be great to eat it immediately, but wait until morning and have it with coffee for breakfast. The Soup Lady doesn't really care for the eggs, and tries to sneak a plain slice when no one else is looking.