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Easter Bread!!! April 11, 2009

Posted by philangelus in food, how-to.

My kids long for Easter. The glory of the Resurrection? That’s nice, but what they really crave is Easter Bread, also known as “casarella” (which is pronounced, for some reason, “casadeel” in my family’s special Foggianese dialect that makes the rest of the boot of Italy shiver in horror.)

Easter Bread is, essentially, pizza dough rolled up with parmesan cheese and bacon. (I apologize to my Jewish readers: this is about as forbidden for Passover as food can get; you can’t even sub mushrooms for the bacon until next week.) 

If you want a recipe, here it is. Enjoy!

Easter Bread (Casarella)

  • 1 package of dry yeast
  • 1 ¾ cups of warm water
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons of oil
  • about 5 cups of flour
  • 1 pound of bacon
  • ½ to ¾ pound block of Romano or Parmesan cheese (not ground)
  1. Heat the water. Add yeast, sugar, salt and oil. Mix well.
  2. Put 4 cups of flour into a mixing bowl. Add water mixture. Stir well.
  3. Knead dough until it is pliable and easily handled, adding approximately 1 more cup of flour in the process
  4. Set aside in a well-oiled bowl, covered, to rise for approximately 4 hours. (If you have more time, punch the dough down at the halfway point for extra-airy dough.) Note: This is how you make home-made pizza dough as well.
  5. Fry the pound of bacon. Crumble into little bits. Save the grease.
  6. Cut up the block of cheese into 350 chunks approximately raisin-sized.
  7. Roll the dough out into a circular or oval shape, making sure your rolling surface is well-floured (otherwise the dough will stick to the table or the countertop.) Roll it to approximately ¼ to ½ inch thickness, about the same thickness as a pre-baked pizza. It should be thin but not so thin that it will rip when handled.
  8. Spread the bacon bits evenly across the surface, making sure to get the edges. Repeat with the cheese chunks.
  9. Forget all about that “cholesterol” stuff they tell you in medical journals and sprinkle bacon grease over the surface of the dough. Not much — maybe two or three tablespoons at the most.
  10. Roll the dough up so it forms a long roll with the dough and the fillings forming a spiral inside, like a cinnamon bun. Pinch the ends down to seal it. Place the Easter bread on a baking pan, curving it so it forms almost a circle. If you’re really adventuresome, a little more bacon grease will help it brown up.
  11. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 40 minutes or until it’s golden and makes a hollow sound when you tap it. Some grease might accumulate outside the bread, so you’ll want a pan with at least a small lip.
  12. To serve, cut it vertically in 2- to 3-inch size pieces. It works well hot or cold, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack, and although the FDA would have a heart attack, my mother insists you don’t have to refrigerate it. (Quite possibly because it never lasts longer than five hours.) But I do it anyhow.
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1. Jason Block - April 11, 2009

Thanks…thanks a lot LOL

Happy Easter!

2. caite - April 12, 2009

That sounds incredibly unhealthy…and totally wonderful.
Funny how those two things often go together, isn’t it?

3. philangelus - April 13, 2009

It’s definitely both, yeah. We’re speculating that it’s Easter Bread because that’s about as often as a healthy human can take a hit like that.

4. Ken Rolph - April 17, 2009

I was going to make this, but I was on my own. I’m going to make in on Sunday morning before everyone arrives back. I had half a kilo of bread mix left over, and the bread maker out on the kitchen bench. I was making yoghurt and turning it into cheese. To make it more interesting I bought a packet of rindless bacon bits to sprinkle in it. So I have that, and some shredded cheese. There’s not a lot of bacon grease involved. We tend to have very lean pork products. So I’ll probably end up spraying it with healthy olive oil.

Which made me wonder whether celebrations are possible any longer. I think about this when I am buying the Christmas ham. There was a time when this was very special, because they weren’t available at other times of the year. Now you can get anything any time, so nothing is special. It’s hard to indulge yourself in a luxury when it is the normal, run of the mill, everyday product.

Maybe it’s flipped inside out. I notice that when younger people get serious about some special time of the year or event, they often fast or do without things. Even such drastic measures as turning off the mobile phone for 24 hours. Lots of kids get involved in things like the 40 hour famine because it is just so different fron their usual self indulgence.

But it’s hard to write a recipe for that.

5. Emily (whylime) - April 21, 2009

hi (just came over from e-hell) This recipe looks magnificent, I’m definitely not waiting until next Easter to try it out. My family makes something similar only with ham onion and parsly in the middle.

Before I get cooking, I have to ask, why is the cheese cut into 350 pieces? Do you count them?

philangelus - April 22, 2009

Emily, I’m a wiseacre. The “350 pieces” is just shorthand for “a whole lot of ‘em.” I don’t count them. Many disappear into my children’s hands and mouths, too.

I’ve heard of someone else using onion, although I think it was onion and mushroom or onion and peppers. Since it’s just pizza dough wrapped around something, it seems as if there could be a lot of combinations worth trying. (I’m going to avoid ham and pineapple, though.)

6. Emily - April 22, 2009

ah I see, I thought it might just be a joke, but then began to wonder that it might have some religious or culinary meaning that I didn’t know about, and then I noticed that the oven was set to 350 as well so I just had to ask. I guess I just over thought it.

philangelus - April 23, 2009

That’s probably why that particular number jumped into my head: I’d just used it. :-) You’re perceptive!

7. Easter Bread « Seven angels, four kids, one family - April 3, 2010

[...] April 3, 2010 Posted by philangelus in food. trackback Last year, I posted my family’s super-secret recipe for Easter Bread, thus rendering it no longer secret, but it’s still [...]

8. Jen - April 3, 2010

Hee… Just re-read this again (and plan to save the recipe this time). Of course, the comment about the accent reminds me of my RI-against-the-rest-of-the-country accent (when it pops up) and I had to laugh. Maybe in Italy, the RI accent seems exotic, and therefore somehow… cool? :-D

philangelus - April 4, 2010

Italians in general are so awesome that they probably would think your RI accent is quite cool, yes. :-)

9. Dear Grandma « Seven angels, four kids, one family - November 5, 2010

[...] pizza, or casarella — those were yours. English muffin pizzas? Check. We don’t do the Lipton soup packets. [...]

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