Italian Easter Basket
|Flour||2 1⁄2 Cup (40 tbs)|
|Active dry yeast||1⁄2 Tablespoon|
|Sugar||1⁄4 Cup (4 tbs)|
|Lemon peel||1⁄2 Teaspoon, grated|
|Crushed aniseeds||1⁄4 Teaspoon|
|Milk||1⁄2 Cup (8 tbs)|
|Unsalted butter||2 Tablespoon|
|Glaze||1 Cup (16 tbs)|
|Egg white||1 (Beaten With 1 Tablespoon Water)|
1 Combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt, lemon peel, and aniseeds in mixing bowl.
2 Heat milk and butter to hot (120°-130°F). Add milk mixture and eggs to dry ingredients. Mix thoroughly.
3 Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth€”about 10 minutes.
4 Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double€”about 1 hour.
5 Punch down dough. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces.
6 Using first third of dough, make a base for basket€”top 9 inches across, sides 5 inches long, and bottom 5 inches across. Place on greased baking sheet.
7 Using second third of dough, make 18€”22 pencil-thin ropes. Place one rope corner to corner across the base. Place other ropes parallel to first, 1/2 inch apart. Next weave ropes across for a lattice effect.
8 Trim each rope, leaving 1/2-inch overlap of base. Carefully tuck ends under basket base.
9 With remaining dough, form additional ropes 1/2 inch thick as follows: Make and braid together three 20-inch-long ropes. Place in a semicircle as handle for basket and pinch ends. Make and twist together two 10-inch-long ropes. Place this 1 inch below top of basket base for trim. Cut ends, leaving 1/2-inch overlap. Tuck ends under base, using knife.
10 Make two 6-inch-long ropes. Twist; place at bottom of basket for trim. Cut ends with 1/2-inch overlap. Tuck ends under base, using knife.
11 Place colored uncooked eggs in basket at top. Curve heavy foil strips on both sides of handle to preserve shape.
12 Make glaze and brush on loaf. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack.