So what is so Italian about these Easter Buns? The bread is enriched with eggs and butter, and candied fruit. Glace peaches, oranges etc are added. Also, the distinctive flavour of anise or fennel seed is used instead of more traditional spices. Italian Easter Buns are at their best fresh from the oven with butter or even some fresh ricotta cheese.

Italian Easter Buns
Serves 12

You Will Need:

4 cups plain flour

½ cup dark brown sugar

2 ½ teaspoon dry yeast

½ teaspoon salt

¾ cup scalded milk

2 tablespoon butter, softened

2 large eggs

½ cup mixed candied fruit, chopped

½ cup currants

½ cup blanched almonds, chopped

1 teaspoon anise seed

Method:

In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt.

Pour in scalded milk cooled to lukewarm (50?C) and the softened butter.

Beat for 2 minutes by hand or with a mixer.

Stir in the eggs and another ½ cup flour. Beat a further 2 minutes.

Stir in by hand the fruit, nuts and anise seed.

Using a mixer with a dough hook or your hands, mix in the rest of the flour to form a soft and elastic dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface and with your hands knead about 5 minutes (or use the mixer and hook).

Place dough into a large bowl that has been greased with olive oil.

Turn dough once so all sides are greased. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in size (about 1 hour).

Knock the dough back, divide into 12 pieces and shape into smooth balls. Score a cross in the top of each bun with a sharp knife. Place on a baking sheet, lightly oiled or covered in baking paper. Cover and let rise again until doubled in size (about 30 minutes).

Bake in a preheated 180?C oven for about 20 minutes or until gold brown.

Makes 12 Easter Buns, thanks to Anthony Josephs for the recipe.

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