Easter Baking Delights

by Nicole Karsch-Meibom
Contributing writer

After this long and cold winter, spring is finally promising warmth and sunshine. So, it’s time to enjoy nice food with friends.

Classic Easter baking ranges from the popular carrot cupcakes to bunny cakes (find suggestions for recipes at www.thebakingpan.com/recipes/cupcakes/carrot-cupcakes.html.)

However, the most traditional dessert in Germany is the Easter braid, or “Osterzopf.” The Osterzopf is usually served on Sunday afternoons and can be creatively decorated with colored eggs and formed into a loaf or wreath.

Preparations are easy and effortless.

The Easter braid is best eaten when still warm, and children love it with a spoonful of honey spread. Beautifully ornamented with colored eggs or ribbons, it is a pleasant herald of the upcoming spring season.

2 teaspoons sugar or honey
1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
4 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup butter (unsalted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup raisins
2/3 cup flaked almonds
1 egg for egg wash
2/3 cup flaked almonds for topping

Heat oven to 200 C. Dissolve 2 teaspoons sugar in warm water and mix with yeast to form a paste. Then, slowly add flour, salt, sugar, lukewarm milk and butter. Depending on individual taste, you can add vanilla extract, almonds and raisins. After kneading all ingredients into a soft dough, cover it and leave it in a warm spot for one to two hours until the dough has doubled.

Divide the dough into three parts and roll them into long rolls. Braid and form as you like. Some recipes suggest placing a small braid on top of a large braid.

Create little dells where you want to place the Easter eggs after baking. Transfer your creation onto a greased baking sheet to let it rise once more. Before baking, brush the dough with egg wash and sprinkle with flaked almonds. Bake in the oven for 40 to 50 minutes, keeping an eye on the braid. If it browns too quickly, cover it with tin foil.