#Easter treats from across the globe - recipes

By Angela Day Time of article published Mar 24, 2016

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Johannesburg - Share in some global Easter traditions by preparing one or more of these delectable baked treats.

If you have never tried making your own hot cross buns, you’ll find it’s not hard, and is rewarding.

The smell of freshly baked bread wafting through the house will have your family lining up for more. As we love a fruit cake at Christmas time, the traditional Simnel cake from England is great to have on hand to feed visitors over this holiday period. It’s not as rich and heavy as a Christmas cake, but can still be made at least a week in advance.

Make sure that the marzipan you use is of a good quality as many of the commercial ones you buy are not made from ground almonds but from lima beans with almond flavouring. It is easy to make your own if none is available to buy.

See our website for a recipe at www.angeladay.co.za


Italian Easter bread

Makes 10-12

5x250ml cake flour

125ml castor sugar

125g butter, cubed

2x10g sachets instant yeast

10ml salt

15ml aniseed

grated rind of 1 orange

2 eggs

250ml warm milk

10-12 coloured eggs

Milk for brushing

Hundreds and thousands sprinkles

In a bowl combine the flour and castor sugar. Rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Add in the yeast, salt, aniseed and orange rind.

Add the eggs and enough warm milk to make a dough that is soft but not sticky. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic.

Place the dough into an oiled plastic bag and set aside to rise in a warm place for about an hour.

Remove the dough from the bag and knead gently.

Divide the dough into 20 portions. Shape each portion into a log measuring about 25-30cm.

Take two logs and twist them together, then form them into a ring, pinching the ends together neatly.

Place on a baking tray and place a coloured egg in the middle of each.

Cover and set aside to rise for 30-40 minutes. Brush with egg glaze and sprinkle with hundreds and thousands. Bake at 180°C for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.

Coloured eggs: If possible, buy white hen’s eggs as they will have a truer colour.

Boil the eggs for 8-10 minutes.

In a glass or metal bowl mix warm water with 20-30ml of food colouring. Stir in 5ml vinegar.

Submerge the eggs in the water adding enough water to make sure they are covered.

Leave for 10-15 minutes.

Remove the eggs and drain on a cooling rack lined with paper towel.

You can rub the eggs with a little vegetable oil to give them a shine if desired.


Simnel Cake

225g butter

250ml light brown sugar

4 eggs

grated rind of 1 orange

grated rind of 1 lemon

375ml self-raising flour

10ml mixed spice

30ml dry sherry or marsala

350g dried cake fruit mix

150g mixed red and green glacé cherries, halved

30ml warmed apricot jam

500g marzipan

Cream the butter and sugar until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the orange and lemon rind.

Add the flour, spice and sherry and mix well. Fold in the fruit and cherries.

Spoon the mixture into a 20cm cake tin which has been well lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake at 160°C for 2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool the cake in the tin. Remove from the tin. Roll 11 balls of marzipan, about the size of a walnut.

Roll the remaining marzipan into a disc the same size as the top of the cake.

Brush the top of the cake with apricot jam and place on the disc of marzipan. Mark a criss-cross pattern on the marzipan with a sharp knife. Arrange the 11 balls of marzipan around the edge of the cake.

Place the cake under a heated grill until the tops of the balls are lightly toasted.


Polish poppy seed bread

Makes 1 loaf

750ml flour

10ml salt

10g instant yeast sachet

50ml poppy seeds

grated rind of 1 orange

60ml honey

80g butter, melted

1 egg, beaten

250-300ml warm water

80ml raisins

80ml slivered almonds

glacé icing

Put flour, salt, yeast, poppy seeds and orange rind in a mixing bowl.

Combine the honey, butter, egg and warm water and add to the dry mixture to form a dough that is soft but not sticky.

Knead the dough until smooth.

Knead in the raisins and almonds.

Put dough into an oiled plastic bag and leave to rise in a warm place until double in size. Remove from bag and knead gently.

Put the dough into a 12x22cm greased loaf pan, cover and leave to rise again for 30 minutes.

Bake at 180°C for 35-40 minutes or until baked through.

Tap the crust and if it sounds hollow, it is done. Remove from the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.

Drizzle with glacé icing. Serve warm with butter.


Hot cross buns

Makes 16 buns

4x250ml flour

60ml sugar

10ml salt

10g sachet of instant yeast

15ml ground cinnamon

grated rind of 1 orange

250ml buttermilk, warmed

60g butter, melted

1 egg, beaten

150g dried cake fruit mix

extra beaten egg

Put the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl. Add the cinnamon and orange rind. Combine the buttermilk, butter and egg, and mix well. Add to the flour mixture and mix to make a dough that is soft but not sticky. Use extra warm water if necessary. Knead well until smooth and elastic. Knead in the fruit.

Put the dough in an oiled plastic bag and leave to rise in a warm place for 30-40 minutes. Once risen, remove from the bag, knead gently and divide the dough into 16 equal balls. Place side by side on a baking tray, cover with the plastic bag and leave to rise until double in size, 30-40 minutes. Brush with beaten egg and pipe a cross over each bun. Bake at 180°C for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and brush with glaze.

Crosses: Mix 125ml flour, 15ml oil and warm water to make a stiff paste. Place in a piping bag fitted with a plain, narrow nozzle.

Glaze: Boil 50ml water, 30ml sugar and a pinch of ground cinnamon in a saucepan for 2-3 minutes.


Greek Easter biscuits

Makes about 20

200g butter

250ml castor sugar

5ml vanilla essence

grated rind of 1 orange

grated rind of 1 lemon

3 egg yolks

60ml milk

750-850ml flour

5ml baking powder

1 egg yolk mixed with 15ml water

sesame seeds, for sprinkling

icing sugar, for sifting

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Add vanilla essence, orange and lemon rind and mix well.

Beat in the egg yolks. Add milk and mix. Add enough flour to form a stiff dough. Roll a large spoonful of dough into a 20cm log.

Fold in half, pinch ends together and twist twice.

Put on to a greased baking tray. Repeat with remaining dough. Brush with egg glaze and sprinkle half with sesame seeds.

Bake at 180°C for 20-25 minutes until light golden brown.

Remove and sift the other half generously with icing sugar while still warm.

The Angela Day recipes are published in The Star, Pretoria News, Cape Argus and Daily News

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