This wonderful, slightly sweet bread, has a heavy, rustic texture.
Traditionally, in southern Italy, it is served on Easter Sunday morning,
along with colored, hard cooked eggs and fruit.
¼ cup warm water
1 pkg. active dry yeast
9 tablespoons sugar
½ cup solid vegetable shortening (Crisco)
3-4 teaspoons flavorings (a combination of liqueurs or extracts that
¼ cup chopped, dry fruit or candied fruit (think fruit cake)
½ teaspoon salt
5 to 6 cups flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water. (I always add a sprinkle of sugar to get
it going.) Combine eggs, sugar and shortening in a large mixing bowl
or food processor with a dough hook. Add the yeast and remaining
ingredients – blending in flour, two cups at a time – adding only enough
to form a dough that can be handled.
If using the food processor, skip this step: Knead dough on a lightly
floured board for a few minutes to make sure it is smooth.
Place dough in a large greased bowl, cover loosely with plastic wrap and
let rise until double in size.
To make one large loaf: Pull dough into a 3 inch wide rope, twist
and place in a greased tube pan (angel food cake pan).
To make two smaller loaves: Cut dough into two pieces and pull
each hunk into 3 inch wide ropes, twist, fold each in half and
place each in a greased loaf pan.
Let dough rise in pans until double in size.
Bake in a 350° oven for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 325° and bake 15
Serve with softened butter and jelly or marmalade. Leftovers are great
toasted, or made into French toast.
Makes one large or two small loaves