On Palm Sunday or Passion Sunday as it is often called, Christians celebrate the entry of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem, the week before his death and resurrection. The Bible reveals that when Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem, the crowds greeted him by waving palm branches and covering his path with palms. In Italy, this Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday, Mass will be celebrated by Pope Francis I.
|Chris coloring eggs|
Palm Sunday is the beginning of Holy Week and it is the holiest of all the weeks in the Roman Catholic faith. We would go to church on Holy Wednesday, Holy Thursday, and most of all we went on Good Friday. That was the last day of eating a meatless meal. On this day, Jesus died on the cross at 3:00 pm. Sometimes I would go with my family to the Easter Vigil. This took place on the Saturday night before Easter Sunday. I remember that it was a beautiful, impressive, but solemn mass.
Also want to wish all of my Jewish friends out there a “Happy Passover” as well. Passover begins at sundown on Monday evening, April 14th. Passover is a beautiful and meaningful holiday. It allows the Jewish community to relive its past, celebrate the present, hope for its future by lovely rituals, and by being together with family and friends which is bound by tradition.
During Holy week, between going to church, we would do all of our Easter baking. I have a wonderful recipe for a very traditional Italian Easter cake called Cuzzupa or Cruzzupe. This is a time-honored recipe from my great-grandmother Sofia and comes from Calabria, Italy. It is made with Anise seeds (licorice flavor) and made into a braided wreath or nest with a hard boiled colored eggs placed into the dough. Then colored sprinkles are added to top off the cakes. The consistency is a cake type of dough not a bread.
|Basket from Academia Barilla|
This recipe won first place in a contest for Easter Cakes on “Cooking With Nonna.” Rossella Rago, who is the owner of “CWN” chose my recipe last year, and what I won was a huge, beautiful basket filled with all delicious items from Academia Barilla. Thank you Rossella for the honor of posting my families favorite Easter Cakes.
I remember a time when I was about 9 or 10 years old…………….
We had a large kitchen and we would prepare for baking day with a large wooden board that we used to roll out our dough, and create our special cakes and cookies, for holidays throughout the year. This antique pastry board was passed down through the years, which I have inherited to create my own delectable sweet treats. As I roll out my dough, I think back to a simpler time. The smells in the kitchen would always give me that warm and toasty feeling. It was a feeling of love, family, and food. Food was and still is a big part of my family.
6 cups of flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
Anise Seeds (between 1/3 and 1/2 oz of crushed and cleaned anise)
4 heaping tablespoons of Crisco (room temperature)
1 cup of sugar
6 eggs (save 1 egg white to brush on cakes before baking)
3/4 cup of milk
Confetti candy sprinkles
Color hard boiled eggs (amount is up to you) a few days ahead of time. Preheat oven to 350°F- -375°F depending on your oven. Grease flat cookie sheets or pans. Crush Anise seeds and put into a dish (before, use a cotton handkerchief to gather anise and twist hanky under it. Then rub hard on the ball of Anise. After rubbing it rolled up in between both hands (make fists.) Open carefully and sort out Anise from brown husks and sometimes small stones.)
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Then mix in Anise. Mix in Crisco with sugar and after make a well shape. (Remember, this is the traditional Old Italian way, but you can also use a bowl to mix all ingredients.) Put in eggs (save/1 egg white) and milk.
Roll out dough in a long and thin strip. Make the strip the thickness of a wooden spoon handle, not any thinner as the dough will break. If you twist 2 strips together to make a braid make each a little thinner than your finger. They will swell as they bake. Put your colored eggs in the braid, nest or dolls, whatever you decide to create. Be careful as you put them on a baking sheet so they don’t break or crack. Roll small pieces of dough and then flatten out with the palm of your hand to cover around the side of the egg on dolls or nests. This helps keep the eggs more secure. If you make dolls, put a slit on feet and hands.
what ever you made.
Then bake in oven for about 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven. They should be lightly browned. Let them sit about 10 minutes to cool off before taking them off the cookie sheet/pans, they may crack or break so be careful removing them from the pans. You can store in an airtight cookie tin for about a week, if they don’t get eaten before that. Enjoy! Ciao!
Till Next Time……………………………….........................
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