I always know when Easter is approaching from the cute, fluffy bunny ears that start cropping all over the place as the holiday comes near. They are on the hair-bands, on chocolates, on cookies, on the little cane-baskets at the supermarket and I swear, just yesterday I saw little bunny ears on a charming elderly lady’s coffee cup in the bus!
This year I really want to do a few special recipes in the weeks preceding the day. Easter is a day to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ in the Christian religion. The celebration itself is also about the Easter Bunny, colorfully decorated Easter eggs, and Easter egg hunts. I found the concept of today’s recipe in an old cook-book that I purchased from a charity store last year ( yes, I visit the local charity shops to hunt for cheap food props and vintage books). If you look closely at the picture below, you can see the picture of the baked rings with eggs placed on top of them, in the book.
This book is called- ‘The complete book of Baking’ and the name of its author is Monika Schumacher. This truly is the most ultimate book for the bakers and one of my prized possessions. This cook-book is also a shining example of the phrase ‘Old is Gold’. It has elaborate recipes that make me feel as if a very expert baker is personally standing behind me in the kitchen and guiding me through the process. It has no short-cuts and quick fixes, just authentic and traditional recipes like the ones that seasoned bakers or consummate grandmothers make. It consists of about a hundred recipes for all type of bakery items from sweet to savory, from breads to scones and what not! I am never parting with this treasure and want to write a book like this someday. Sigh!
*Bringing my head down from the clouds*…..These ‘nests’ are basically braided Nutella-filled bread rings which are sweet, delicious and perfect for serving with tea. Place an egg in the gap in the center of the rings and you have a delightful and apt Easter egg-nest to impress your family and friends.
I have a confession to make- I tasted Nutella for the the very FIRST TIME in my life last evening. There. I said it. In the past, I have had friends who have gasped with horror on knowing that I haven’t tasted Nutella in all of my thirty years. One of them even said to me- “ARE YOU KIDDING?? YOU ARE MISSING OUT ON LIFE!!”
Let me explain. I am not too fond of chocolates. Don’t get me wrong….. ice-creams, cakes, brownies, crisps…you name the junk food and I am crazy about it, but speaking of chocolates specifically, that is just not my thing. So obviously I never went to a super-market to buy a jar of chocolate spread which I could smear on the bread slices or pancakes.
I am proud to say that yesterday, I ticked that one thing off my bucket-list and I must admit it was pretty delicious. BTW, is it just me or it just tasted exactly like liquid Ferrero Rocher? That is one chocolate that I like. Anyway, between me and my health-nut hubs, I don’t know how long that jar will be sitting in our refrigerator (probably months) but it did taste yummylicious in these ‘nests’ which we enjoyed thoroughly this morning with our breakfast.
Give this recipe a go folks and enjoy the coming festive season to the fullest! Have a rocking week ahead!! xx
- 2 cup plain flour
- 1/2 cup warm milk
- 1 tsp quick action dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 egg + 1 more for egg-wash
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup Nutella or as needed
- 3 tsp melted butter
- 2 tsp olive oil
- Extra flour for dusting
- In a small bowl, beat 1 egg and set aside.
- To make your dough, the first thing that you need to do is- activate the yeast. In a large mixing bowl, take luke-warm milk, dry yeast and sugar. Mix well and keep to rest for 10 mins. Remember, milk should be strictly lukewarm. Not hot or cold. That will kill the yeast.
- When you see a foamy layer on top of your mixture, that indicates that your yeast has activated well.
- Add the beaten egg to the yeast mixture and give a good whisk.
- To it, add your flour, salt, melted butter and olive oil. Combine it into a soft dough. remember, dry dough is your biggest enemy. It needs to be nicely moist and soft. If the dough is looking a bit dry, you can add 1-2 tbsn water to it.
- Dust some flour on the kitchen platform and knead your dough very well for 8-9 minutes. Look up ‘stretch-and-pull’ method on the internet. This step is very essential as we need to activate the gluten in the dough. Knead into a smooth ball.
- Grease a bowl with oil and place your dough in it. The bowl should be large and deep as the dough will rise and get doubled in size. Coat the dough well with some more oil and cover the top of the bowl tightly in a cling-wrap.
- Rest in the warm place for 1 – 1.5 hours.
- After 1-1.5 hours, take out the dough from the oven and dispose of the cling-wrap. It would have doubled in size by now, Immerse your index finger right in the middle of the dough till the bottom of the bowl, to make a hole. If the hole stays prominent and in place, your dough has risen enough.
- With a closed fist, gently punch the dough to release the air out of your dough. Knead the dough for 3-4 minutes more on the dusted kitchen platform and form into a smooth ball.
- Divide the dough in two equal parts and smooth them both into round balls.
- With a rolling pin, roll the dough-balls into 2 thin rectangular bases. You can work with them one after the other instead to doing this simultaneously.
- Now comes the yummy part! Leaving a ½ inch border on all sides, spread your Nutella evenly all over the surface of both the bases.
- With one of the wider sides, start rolling the dough into a long tube, pinching the sides closed as you go along. In the end, it should resemble a long cylinder. Ensure that it is sealed well from all around.
- Keeping the top intact, slice your dough into two halves along the length of the tube.
- Braid the two halves, twisting them carefully such that the cut, brown ends remain on top. This is what will make your bread look attractive!
- Form 2 individual rings with your 2 braids and pinch the ends well, so that the knots do not loosen up or come apart while baking.
- Transfer to a greased baking pan. Cover with cling film and set aside for 30 minutes for the dough to rise again.
- Prepare your egg-wash. In a bowl, break an egg and whisk it till fluffy. Set aside.
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C.
- After 30 mins, using a pastry brush, brush your egg wash on the surface of your bread. This will give your bread a beautiful glaze! Do not use the entire egg-wash! You will only need a little to brush on top of your bread, preserve the rest for later use in other dishes or to make yourself an omelette.
- Bake for around 30 minutes, until golden brown.
- Cool completely on a wire rack and slice. Enjoy with hot tea/coffee or as it is. Enjoy!