Easter is one of the most heartfelt and celebrated holidays in Cattolica Eraclea, perhaps due to the message of resurrection and rebirth that it has always transmitted.
As per tradition, foods linked to the occasion and rooted in the regional culture are brought to the table, one of these being the Panareddi di pani cu l’ova, a kind of very kneaded bread combined with coloured eggs.
In fact, once upon a time only wealthy families could afford the luxury of tasting particularly expensive and beautiful sweets, while less fortunate children asked their mothers “cosi duci” (duke’s things) to eat for Easter.
These mothers, in order to make their children happy, invented stories and even sweets that were simple but beautiful to look at.
Thus, one of these mothers went to work and kneaded flour with eggs, sugar, salt and water. She puzzled to give that dough a nice shape and decorate it and just in this way, from her skilled hands, a “panareddu” was created.
But she had to add a pop of colour to the cake, so she boiled an egg hard and magically coloured the shell with a piece of coloured tissue paper.
She placed the coloured egg in the basket, covering it with thin strips of dough and put it in the oven. She created a one-of-a-kind dessert, appreciated by young and old alike. This panareddu bread with its intertwined shape and small relief designs, skilfully raised with a small knife, has become one of the most important traditions of Sicily.
In all the families of Cattolica Eraclea it was customary to prepare strictly home-made “panareddi cu l’ova”. Today they are bought in bakeries and pastry shops but are always very popular, especially by the older people who go back in time and relive the distant memories of their childhood.
Recipe for Panareddi made with breads with eggs
- Warm water
The first thing to do is to wash the egg shells well and dry them. In fact, they can be put in panareddi as they are, or coloured with food dyes.
In this case, put the eggs to boil in a saucepan where some dye was first added or, as I did, moisten some powdered dye with water and then colour the shells with the help of a paper towel.
Put the flour, salt, sugar, oil, milk and yeast in the mixer and start kneading, adding the lukewarm water a little at a time.
Remove the dough and put it to rise in a bowl covered with cling film, until it has doubled in volume.
Eggs, if cold-coloured, can be put in panareddi even when raw, otherwise they must be hard-boiled.
Take some pieces of leavened dough and give the shape you want, placing an egg trapped with pieces of dough in the centre. Just before baking, brush the bread with beaten egg.
Bake at about 200 ° for 20-30 minutes, always checking, because the temperatures of the ovens vary.
The Panareddi di pani cu l’ova are ready and you can give them as a gift, create an Easter centrepiece or use them as a placeholder.