Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pigna di Pasqua

It's been a tradition in my family since the 1800's to make pigna for Easter. Most of the time, when you hear of Italian pigna, it's a bread with yeast in it. However, when my family makes it, it's a type of cookie, very similar to Greek koulourakia. I'm not quite sure why ours is different, perhaps there is Greek influence in Southern Italy that carried over?

The recipe is quick and easy to make. After making the dough, we braid it into the shape of a crown of thorns and put colored eggs around it (to symbolize life after death). Then we make little cookies to go around the crown in shapes like fish or infinity signs or other shapes that have religious significance. It's a simple cookie, not too sweet and good as a quick bite at breakfast or even to dip into your after dinner coffee. Below is the recipe I use from my Grandmother. It should make 2 crown of thorns and a few trays of cookies, you can half it for one family:

Pigna Di Pasqua

2 ½ lbs flour
2 cups sugar
7/8 cup oil
4 rounded Tbsp baking powder
¼ glass milk
8 eggs

Mix eggs, milk & sugar. Add oil slowly & beat very well. Add flour & knead. Shape and brush with an egg wash. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until lightly brown

Use raw eggs to decorate ---making a fish ( several individual sized ones) or crown of thorns (usually three eggs spaced around it).

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