April 1, 2010 at 8:53 a.m.
Decorating eggs is one of the customs of celebrating Easter. Many Easter customs come from Eastern and Central European countries, as well as the United States where eggs have been decorated for hundreds of years. As you know, eggs used for dying or painting are most often a hen or other bird eggs. I use Zebra Finch eggs, that are tiny, pullet eggs, ducks, goose, Rhea, Emu, and Ostrich eggs.
Many countries have traditional foods served on Easter also. Hot cross buns are made not only in the U.S., but Great Britain as well. The buns are sweet rolls filled with golden and dark raisins and marked with a cross, using a powdered sugar frosting.
There are a variety of recipes for hot cross buns.
HOT CROSS BUNS
2 pkgs. quick-rise yeast
3/4 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
1/2 t. nutmeg
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. butter or margarine, melted
2 c. milk
3 large eggs, slightly beaten
3-1/2 c. white flour
3/4 c. golden raisins
3/4 c. dark raisins
1 egg, beaten
3/4 c. powered sugar
1 T. milk
About four hours before serving or early in the day: put first six ingredients in large mixing bowl. Stir ingredients with a wire whisk to combine well. Heat milk until very warm (125-130 degrees); slowly add milk just until blended. Increase speed to medium; beat 2 minutes, occasionally scraping bowl with a rubber spatula. Add melted butter, eggs and 1 c. flour; beat 2 minutes. Stir in raisins and remaining flour, adding 1 cup at a time, to make a soft dough.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic, working in more white flour (about 3/4 c.) while kneading. Shape dough into a ball; Place in a large bowl, sprayed with cooking spray, turing dough so greasy side is up. Cover and let rest 30 minutes. Grease and lightly flour a 14x10-inch metal baking pan.* Turn dough onto cutting surface (a cutting board is the best or you'll cut into your counter). With a knife, cut dough into 24 pieces; shape into balls and put in pan. Cover and let rise in warm place (80-85 degrees) until doubled in size. Brush buns with beaten egg. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until golden. Cool in pan on wire rack.
In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar with 1 T. milk. Spoon icing into decorating bag fitted with writing tube; use to pipe cross on each bun.
Makes 24 buns.
* If you don't have a 14x10-inch pan, use a 9x13-inch, putting buns 4 across and 5 down. Put the 4 remaining buns in a small pie plate. Also, if you don't have a decorating bag, use a small baggie and snip off just a tiny bit in one corner of the bag. Put frosting in bag and pipe with powdered mixture.
EASTER MORNING BRUNCH BAKE
1/4 c. butter
1/2 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces (8-10- spears)
1 small sweet red pepper, diced
8 c. Vienna or French bread cubes (1-inch cubes)
2 c. (8 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
1 c. cubed, cooked ham - optional
2-1/2 c. milk
1/2 t. dried marjoram leaves or 2 t. fresh, chopped marjoram
1/8 t. salt
1/8 t. pepper
In medium frying pan, over medium heat, melt butter. Add veggies and cook, stirring occasionally, until veggies are tender-crisp, about 3-5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine bread cubes, 1 c. cheese, ham and veggie mixture. Spoon into a sprayed 9x13-inch baking pan. Bake uncovered, 45-50 minutes or until golden and puffed. Sprinkle remaining 1 c. cheese evenly over top and bake until cheese is melted, 2-3 minutes.
Note: Sharp Cheddar, Colby, or Monterey Jack may be substituted for Cheddar cheese.
This is such a good, quick lunch to make using eggs and ham
CREAMED HAM 'N EGGS
4 hard-cooked eggs, cut into 1/2-inch sliced or chopped
1 c. thin white sauce (recipe follows)
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
1 t. prepared mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
2/3 c. diced ham - optional
1/2 c. frozen peas, thawed
4 slices buttered toast or 4 baking powder biscuits, cut crosswide
Parsley to garnish, optional
Season white sauce with Worcestershire, mustard, salt and pepper. Fold in eggs, ham and peas. Heat over low heat (so it won't scorch) until heated through. Serve over toast or biscuits.
Makes 4 servings.
THIN WHITE SAUCE
2 T. butter or margarine
2 T. flour
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
2 c. milk
In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter; blend in flour, salt and pepper. Stirring constantly, cook until mixture is smooth and bubbly; gradually stir in milk. Heat until mixture boils and thickens.
TFD: May your Easter celebration be one of joy and rejoicing in our risen Lord. In my native tongue, Christos Voskres (Christ is risen), Voistinnu Voskres, (He is risen indeed), Halleluia!
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