Easter traditional "palummeddi", fun for children and adults alike
As we prepare for Easter I could not miss a special post about a Sicilian special Easter Recipe. The Holy Week in the island offers an interesting combinations of religious celebrations and traditions, including irresistible Pasqua food like: "nfigghiulati" (ricotta's pies), "cassateddi", marzipan decorated lambs, "palummeddi", "sciuscieddu", "'mpanati ri agneddu", and many, many more.
In previous posts I talked about Pastieri, my grandmother's Easter Chocolate and Champagne Rabbit or a more modern, deconstructed version of Sicilian Arancino.
Inspired by my recent classes with children, this year I want to dedicate this post to "palummeddi", a special kind of bread shaped in all sort of ways containing hard boiled eggs and decorated with colourful sprikles.
As usual the extended family used to meet to make these on Saturday, before Easter, and as I had all female cousins, except for one, there was never an issue about shaping and decorating “palummeddi” in a very girly fashion. We would make little handbags, hearts, dolls, baskets, nests and decorate them with flowers, braids and doves.
It is only when I started teaching to children that with boys in my cooking classes I realised that my girly decoration style was not enough. But as usual kids are full of imagination and resources, so they helped me finding a solution and over the years we have made "male style" palummeddi with dinosaurs, football and rugby balls, cars, spiders, etc... (check the pictures below).
I still prefer my girly version though;)!
To make palummeddi you need:
1 kg semolina flour
6-8 hard boiled eggs
4 table spoons extra virgin olive oil
13 gr brewer’s yeast
lukewarm water and salt
Some “riaulina” colourful edible sugar sprinkles
Prepare the hard boiled eggs and set aside to cool down.
Prepare the dough mixing all ingredients, make sure to dissolve the yeast in tepid water before adding it to the mixture. Use enough water to make a firm elastic dough and then roll it out to get 5 mm thick disks to use as a base for the “palummeddi”. Place the hard boiled eggs in the middle, I prefer them with the shell off, and cover with other dough using your creativity to shape it like little baskets, dolls or in “macho style” dinosaurs or cars. Then brush with egg wash and decorate with “riaulina”, colorful sugar sprinkles.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 C° for 18-20 mintues. When they are golden brown they are ready.
As I like to add small roses and doves to mines, I often use cloves to pin the decoration to the basis rather than toothpicks. It makes the composition even prettier and I love the taste when I bite into that corner of the bread.
Honestly, on Easter Sunday, there is so much to eat on the menu that “palummeddi” are usually served at the beginning of the meal, we all look at how beautiful they are, have a little bite and then save them for the following day, Lunedì di Pasquetta, when we all go for a picnic in the countryside.