Making an Easter tradition: ciambella mandorlata

About 20 years ago I wanted to learn how to make bread so I bought a book, Eric Treuille and Ursula Ferrigno’s Bread. One of its recipes is for an Italian Easter bread, ciambella mandorlata, originating in Bologna. It’s a brioche-type bread – the dough enriched with lemon zest, eggs and unsalted butter – topped with a chopped almonds and cinnamon mixture, two strands of dough plaited together and joined to form a ring. I must have first made it for Easter somewhere around 2000 or 2001 and I’ve made it every year since.

An already-nibbled loaf…

That first year I made it I simply wanted to try something a little more complicated than the recipes I’d attempted before, and I’m always a bit of a sucker for an Italian recipe! Now, nearly twenty years later, it’s an integral part of our family Easter, and I always set aside Easter Saturday as bread-making day with it taking nearly 6 hours to rise and prove, and another 40 minutes to cook. Late on Saturday morning I gathered together the ingredients and started work. This year my daughter helped too, mixing and kneeding. Who knows how long this tradition of ours will last, but for now it’s important and we’d all miss it if I didn’t make it. And I suppose all family traditions start somewhere.

Anyway, this is only a very short post, and it’s a beautiful day. A lazy walk in the sunshine beckons. Enjoy your day, wherever you are!

For another piece of family tradition see:

An Englishman’s Italian American Christmas

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