Make Easter Breads A Tradition

Published 4:35 pm Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Easter, like Christmas, is a special time for family and friends to spend time together. Make these gatherings memorable with fresh-from-the-oven coffee cakes and breads.

Easter breads have been a tradition since biblical times. Especially appropriate to the season are Fig-Walnut Bread, Apricot-Pecan Hot Cross Buns, Orange Glazed Coffee Cake.

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1-1/2 c. warm water, 1 pkg. dry yeast, 1 tsp. sugar, 4-1/4 c. flour, 2 T. olive oil, 1 T. honey, 2 tsp. salt, 2 c. dried figs, chopped fine, 1 c. walnuts, chopped fine

In large bowl combine 1cup warm water, yeast and sugar; stir to dissolve. Let stand five minutes or until foamy. With wooden spoon stir in 1 cup flour. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature 45 minutes or until mixture is thick and bubbly. Stir in 3 c. flour, 1 T. olive oil, honey, salt and remaining 1/2 c. warm water until well combined. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead 5 to 8 minutes, adding additional 1/4 c. flour as needed until dough is smooth and elastic. Flatten dough; press figs and walnuts into dough. Fold dough over onto fruit and nuts and knead until well combined. Place in greased large bowl, turning to grease top. Cover bowl and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 2 hours. Punch down dough; cover and let rest 10 minutes. Grease large cookie sheet. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 6-inch round loaf. Place loaves at opposite ends of prepared cookie sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minute. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. With serrated knife make several slashes in top of each loaf. Brush with remaining 1 T. oil. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until bottoms sound hollow when lightly tapped with fingers. Cool 10 minutes on cookie sheet. Makes two loaves.


3-1/2 to 4 c. flour, 3/4 c. apricot nectar, 1 pkg. dry yeast, 1/3 c. sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt, 3 eggs, 6 oz. dried apricots, 1/3 c. pecans, chopped, 1 egg white, slightly beaten, Apricot Icing, 1/2 c. margarine

In large mixing bowl stir together 1-1/2 c. flour and yeast. In saucepan heat apricot nectar, margarine, sugar, and salt until warm, stirring constantly. Add to flour mixture along with eggs. Beat with electric mixer on low for 30 seconds, scraping bowl constantly. Beat on high for 3 minutes. Reserve 4 or 5 apricots; snip remaining apricots. Using spoon, stir the snipped apricots and pecans into dough. Stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough (3 to 5 minutes). Shape into a ball. Place in lightly greased bowl; turn once. Cover; let rise until double, about 1-1/2 hours. Punch dough down. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Divide dough into 20 portions; shape into smooth balls. Arrange dough balls, two inches apart on greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until almost double (30 to 40 minutes). Brush dough with egg white. Bake in 350 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden. Cool on wire racks. Snip reserved apricots into 40 thin slivers. Using spoon, top each bun with an “X” of Apricot Icing; decorate each “X” with apricot slivers.

Apricot Icing: combine 1 c. sifted powdered sugar and enough apricot nectar, about 1 T. to make an icing of drizzling consistency.


1 pkg. dry yeast, 1/4 c. warm water, 1/2 c. warm milk, 1/2 c. fresh orange juice, 1/2 c. sugar, 1/2 c. ricotta cheese, 1 T. orange zest, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1 lg. egg, beaten lightly, 3-1/2 to 4 c. flour

glaze: 1 lg. egg, beaten

icing: 1 c. confectioners' sugar, 1-1/2 to 2 T. orange juice

In large bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir the warm milk, orange juice, sugar, ricotta cheese, orange zest, salt and egg into yeast mixture. Using heavy duty electric mixer with paddle attachment, set on low speed and beat 2 c. flour into the yeast mixture until a wet dough forms. Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place dough in large greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover loosely with damp cloth and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1-1/2 hours. Grease a 10-inch springform pan. Punch down dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 1 to 2 minutes. Divide dough into 3 equal parts. Roll each piece into a 20-inch rope. Braid ropes together. Coil braided dough in prepared pan; tuck ends under. Cover loosely with damp cloth and let rise in warm place until almost doubled, 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush dough with glaze. Bake until the top is golden, 25 to 30 minutes. Turn out right side up onto wire rack and cool slightly. To prepare icing in small bowl stir together confectioners' sugar and orange juice until smooth. Spread over warm coffee cake. Serve warm.