Italian Easter bread or Ciambellone falls somewhere between a cake and bread on the culinary periodic table.
It tastes like soft biscotti and that, of course, makes it perfect to serve with coffee or tea.
It also requires no special equipment to make.
Flour is piled onto an immaculately clean board and the remainder of the ingredients are added to a fist-made well and mixed into the flour using your equally immaculate fingers.
It’s then formed into rings and baked. I prefer to make one large ring and use a ring mold to enhance the appearance of the Ciambellone.
Yield: 1 or 2 coils.
- 4 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil or melted butter
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting
- 1 tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
- 1 egg for egg wash
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease and flour a large baking sheet or a 9-inch tube pan.
2) Mound flour on a board.
Create a well in center of mound.
Using your fingers, begin alternating liquid and other dry ingredients into well, mixing until all ingredients are combined.
Knead, adding additional flour if needed, to form a smooth dough.
3) Divide into one or two parts and shape into fat rings.
Beat additional egg with a teaspoon of water.
Brush top of ring with egg wash. Place on baking sheet or into tube pan. Bake 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool.
Dust with confectioners’ sugar.