Easter Bread Dolls
Pupi Con L'uova
Many people throughout southern Italy give La Pupazza con l' uovo, the doll with an egg, as a traditional Easter gift, especially for children. Often referred to by its dialect name, pupi cu l' ova,it is made of dough wrapped around one or more eggs. The breads are shaped into various figures. Each figure is decorated with one or more whole eggs in its shell, held in place with crossed strips of dough. The texture of this bread is a firm dry cake; more like a cookie than a bread. While girls may be given baby dolls and boys given birds or chickens, other familiar shapes are horses, hearts, and baskets.
Makes 4 to 8 dolls, depending on how large you make them.
4 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
6 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
About 2/3 cup milk
4 whole uncooked eggs, room temperature
Currants, pine nuts, mini chocolate chips for garnish
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water for egg wash
Colored candy sprinkles
Color eggs before starting and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat together the eggs, vanilla, and lemon zest. Stir the mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir in the melted butter. Gradually stir in enough milk to form a dough. Form the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 large baking sheets.
On a floured work surface, divide the dough into either 4 or eight pieces.
With 8 pieces your dolls will be approximately 6 inches tall x 2-1/2 inches wide.
Work with one piece of dough at a time.
To make a doll, take off a portion of the dough the size of a small egg and set it aside. Shape the remainder into 3 balls, each one slightly smaller than the next (like a snowman). Arrange the balls on one of the prepared baking sheets. Flatten each one slightly. Press a whole colored egg into the bottom section of the doll. Pinch off a piece of the reserved dough and form into 2 thin ropes.
Crisscross the ropes over the egg and press the ends into the body of the doll.
Use the remaining dough to make arms, hair, mouth, etc. Add currants, pine nuts, or other edible items to decorate the doll. Repeat with the remaining portions of dough.
Brush the egg wash over the dolls. Decorate with candy sprinkles.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until browned. Cool on wire racks.
Note: Follow the same method to make other shaped figures, if desired.
Easter Bread Dolls - Pupi con L'uova
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Some people believe that the bigger the papazza isand the more eggs it holds, the more important its recipient. That is why the father of the family traditionally received his pupi con l'ove with at least one more egg than anyone else. In Puglia, tradition calls for dying the eggs red . Superstitious people believe that the color red is a powerful color that could destroy evil forces. In addition, the cakes had to be decorated with an uneven number of eggs because uneven numbers were believed to have more favorable influences.