PORTUGUESE EASTER BREAD
Makes 1 large loaf
5 x 250ml flour
grated rind of one lemon
2 x 10g sachets of instant yeast
2 eggs, beaten
250ml castor sugar
60g butter, softened
250ml warm water
6 hard-boiled coloured eggs*
beaten egg for glazing
Combine the flour, salt, lemon rind and yeast in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
Make a well in the centre. Beat eggs and sugar together and add to the flour. Add the butter and enough warm water to mix to a dough that is soft but not sticky.
Knead well until smooth and elastic.
Place the dough in an oiled plastic bag and leave to rise until doubled in size. When the dough has risen, remove it from the bag and knead gently. Remove about 125ml of the dough and set it aside. Roll or press the remaining dough into a large circle about 30cm in diameter.
Place on a greased baking tray, cover and allow to rise for about 40 minutes. Press the coloured eggs into the dough around the edge and one in the middle. Divide the reserved dough into 12 portions and roll each into a thin rope.
Use the ropes to form a cross over each egg. Brush loaf with beaten egg and bake at 200°C for 40-50 minutes until the bread sounds hollow when tapped. Cover with a piece of foil if it starts to get too dark during the baking time. Remove and cool before serving.
LEMON AND ALMOND EASTER CAKE
5ml vanilla extract
10ml baking powder
250ml lemon curd
60ml apricot jam
750ml ground almonds
750ml sifted icing sugar
2-3 egg whites, lightly beaten
3ml almond extract
500g fondant paste
easter eggs for decoration
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Sift the flour and baking powder and add it alternately to the creamed mixture with enough milk to make a dropping consistency.
Divide the mixture equally among three 20cm cake pans that have been lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake at 180°C for 15-20 minutes until golden brown or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove and cool. Trim the layers so that they fit snugly on top of each other. Sandwich the three layers together with lemon curd. Spread the top and sides of the cake with apricot jam and cover with a layer of almond paste. Trim the edges and rub the surface until smooth. Set the cake on a wire rack over a tray to catch any dripping icing. Pour over the fondant icing and allow it to set.
PASTE: Combine the almonds and icing sugar and mix well. Add enough egg white to form a stiff paste. Add almond extract and mix well.
On a surface dusted with icing sugar, roll out the almond paste large enough to cover the top and sides of the cake. Carefully roll the almond paste up on to a rolling pin and then unroll it over the cake which has been brushed with apricot jam.
Instead of making the almond paste, you can use ready-made marzipan icing bought in tubs from the supermarket.
ICING: Combine the water and sugar and heat in a small saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for two minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.
Place the fondant paste in a bowl and put it over a pot of simmering water.
Leave until the icing has become completely liquid. Remove from the heat and add enough of the sugar syrup to make the icing runny. Pour this over the almond paste, spreading it quickly with a palette knife. It sets very fast so work quickly.
Neaten the edge of the cake, put it on to a serving plate and decorate with Easter eggs and a ribbon.
Fondant paste can be bought at cake icing supply shops.
160g butter, softened
125ml castor sugar
grated rind of 1 lemon
2 egg yolks
5ml mixed spice
glacé icing for decoration
Cream the butter and sugar well.
Add the lemon rind and mix. Beat in the egg yolks. Sift the flour and spice and add to the creamed mixture with the currants. Mix to form a dough.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and cut out with a cutter of your choice.
Place on a greased baking tray and bake at 160°C for 15-20 minutes until pale golden brown.
Remove and cool.
Decorate with glacé icing if desired.
SIMNEL ROLL WITH WHITE CHOCOLATE AND CRANBERRIES
30ml castor sugar
15ml baking powder
45ml apricot jam
100g white chocolate, chopped
180ml dried cranberries
egg for glazing
375ml ground almonds
375ml sifted icing sugar
1-2 egg whites, lightly beaten
125ml sifted icing sugar
water to mix
Sift the flour, castor sugar and baking powder into a bowl. Add the butter and rub it in until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Combine the egg and buttermilk and add to the dry ingredients to form a stiff dough. Knead gently until smooth. Roll the dough out on a floured surface in a rectangle. Brush with apricot jam.
Cover with the sheet of almond paste. Scatter over the chocolate and cranberries.
Roll up lengthwise, like a Swiss roll.
Place it on a greased baking tray. Use sharp scissors to cut snips in the top of the dough.
Brush with egg glaze and bake at 180°C for 30-40 minutes until golden brown.
Remove and cool slightly before drizzling with glacé icing.
ALMOND PASTE: Combine ground almonds and icing sugar. Add enough egg white to form a stiff paste. Knead in the almond extract. Roll out thinly on a surface lightly dusted with icing sugar to slightly smaller than the dough rectangle.
ICING: Add enough water to the icing sugar to make a stiff icing. Drizzle over the log. It is not wise to use ready-bought marzipan for this recipe as it does not bake well.