Who doesn’t love a good Easter feast? I certainly do. I’ve compiled a list of my five favourite traditional European Easter recipes to create for the ultimate Easter feast. Why not give them a try for your Easter Sunday lunch or dinner?
Koulourakia (Easter Cookies, Greece)
Makes approximately 20-25 cookies.
3/4 cup butter softened
1 cup sugar
2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk
4 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup milk
Zest from one lemon
Chopped almonds or sugar for topping the cookies
- Pre-heat the oven to a moderate heat (roughly 140 degrees fan forced).
- Combine by beating the butter and sugar.
- Add one whole egg and a separate egg yolk, then continue mixing. Add the lemon zest in to the mixture.
- In another bowl, mix 1 cup of flour to the butter mixture. Then add milk to the mixture.
- Keep adding flour to the mixture until a soft dough has formed. Make sure that the dough is not sticky or crumbly.
- Cover the dough and let it rest for about 15 minutes.
- Line some pans with baking paper.
- Take a piece of the dough and roll it into a tube. Thickness of the tube should be the same as your little finger, then told into various shapes. More traditional shapes include a twist or round swirl.
- Beat one egg in a small bowl and brush on top of each cookie.
- Bake the cookies for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let the cookies cool and then sprinkle with chopped almonds or powdered sugar.
Enjoy these cookies for breakfast or a snack, they are best served with a coffee or hot milk.
Flaounes (Easter bread, Cyprus)
Makes approximately 4 flaounes.
For the dough –
750 grams hard wheat flour
- 60 grams olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dry active yeast
- 400 grams water
- pinch of salt
For the filling –
500 grams sweet gruyere cheese
- 200 grams grated haloumi
- 1 teaspoon dried mint leaves or lemon balm leaves
- 1 teaspoon mastic
- 1 teaspoon machlepi
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 200 grams raisins
- 3 eggs
- 80 grams granulated sugar
- 80 grams fine semolina flour
1 egg for brushing
Sesame seeds for topping the flaounes
- Pre-heat the oven to roughly 390 degrees fan forced.
- In a bowl, mix the yeast and water with a spoon.
- Using an electric mixer to combine all dough ingredients. Mix until it is soft and spongy.
- Cover the dough mixture and let it rest for approximately one hour.
- Mix all of the ingredients for the filling in a bowl.
- Divide the dough in three parts and roll out to a 3cm thickness. Cut the dough into 20×20 cm squares.
- Add the filling mixture (about 60-80 grams) to the middle of each square and fold the edges over the middle. Using a fork, press down the edges so they stick.
- Bruch the tops of the squares with the egg and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
- Bake the flaounes for 25 minutes or until golden brown.
I personally like these served warm and plain so they have more of a savoury flavour. However, you can serve the flaounes with honey and cinnamon for a bit of sweetness. Enjoy!
Pastiera Napoletana (Wheat berry and Ricotta pie, Italy)
Makes 1 pie and serves approximately 10.
For the pastry –
250 grams plain flour
- 100 grams icing sugar
- 125 grams unsalted cold butter
- 1 egg and 1 egg yolk
- zest of a lemon
- 1 egg to brush
For the filling –
250 grams cooked wheat berries
200 mls milk
30 grams unsalted butter
- zest of a lemon
- 2 eggs and two egg yolks
- 350 grams fresh ricotta
- 350 grams caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon orange blossom
- 100 grams mixed candied citrus, finely chopped
- icing sugar for sprinkling
- Place the flour and icing sugar into a bowl and rub the cold butter into this dry mixture.
- Once the mixture looks like breadcrumbs, add the egg, egg yolk and lemon zest.
- Knead the mixture (but not too much!) and then wrap in plastic and leave the dough to rest for 30 minutes.
- Place the cooked berries, milk, butter and lemon zest in a saucepan over medium heat and bring to a small boil.
- Stir the mixture for about 10 minutes until it becomes thick like a porridge.
- Set the berry mixture in a bowl and refrigerate overnight.
- You will need to make the ricotta mixture on the same day as the berry mixture. In another bowl, beat the eggs, egg yolk, ricotta, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and organs blossom water. Beat until there are no lumps in the mixture.
- Pre-heat the oven to roughly 200 degrees fan forced.
- Place baking paper or grease a baking tray. If placing paper on the tray, please ensure that the paper does not overhang the pan.
- Roll out the pastry dough and place in the pan. Cut off any overhanging pieces.
- Cut a few long strips of the pastry dough to place on top (once the mixture has been placed in the pan. Ideally, the strips should be 2cm wide.
- Fold the berry mixture and ricotta mixture together, whilst adding the chopped candied citrus pieces. Mix until just combined.
- Place this mixture inside the pan onto of the pastry dough.
- Add the pastry strips on top of the ricotta mixture (in any pattern you wish – although a lattice is more traditional). Ensure that the top pastry strips stick to the sides of the pastry base.
- Brush the top pastry with some beaten egg.
- Place the pie into the oven for approximately 50-60 minutes. Bake until the top pastry is golden brown.
- Remove the pie from the oven and leave to cool.
When serving the pie, it is best to sprinkle some icing sugar on top and serve with vanilla ice cream.
Gratin Dauphinois (Cheesy potato bake, France)
Makes approximately 1 large pan – serves 6-8.
5 cups whole milk
- 1 kilogram baking potatoes (chat or bap are best) – peeled and cut into quarters
- 1 and ½ cups thickened cream
- 1 and ½ cups creme fraiche (or sour cream)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 2 tablespoons softened butter
2/3 cup gruyere cheese (best if grated)
- Preheat the oven to 140 degrees fan forced.
- Place the potatoes, milk and garlic in a saucepan and simmer over medium heat. Simmer for approximately 15 minutes.
- Drain the milk and add in thickened cream, creme fraiche, salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Simmer this mixture for about 10-15 minutes until the potatoes are tender.
- Gently remove the potatoes and place into a large serving dish. Then pour the cream from the saucepan onto of the potatoes in the dish.
- Sprinkle the gruyere creese on top and bake in the oven for about 20 – 25 minutes.
This gratin can be served as a side dish with meat or fish or can be simply eaten on its own. Either way, you’ll definitely be screaming for more!
Hornazo (Savoury Easter bread, Spain)
Serves approximately 8.
750 grams bread flour
- 3 teaspoons dried yeast
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 125 ml cubed butter
- 440 ml water
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 egg yolk
- 200 grams bacon rashers
- 350 grams chorizo
- 3 hard-boiled eggs, cut into quarters
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees fan forced.
- Mix the flour, yeast and salt into a large bowl.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add in the water.
- Then add the dry ingredients and a beaten egg to the pan and mix with a wooden spoon.
- Lightly flour a chopping board or a bench top and knead the flour mixture until springy.
- Rub some olive oil onto the dough mixture, cover with cling wrap and set aside for one hour.
- Drizzle some olive oil into a medium sized saucepan and cook the bacon over medium heat.
- Add the chorizo to this saucepan and cook until golden brown.
- Knead the bread dough for 2 minutes and pat down the dough into a rectangle pan.
- Brush the pastry dough lightly with some water to moisten.
- Spread out some of the bacon and chorizo mixture and add the hard boiled eggs over the centre of the dough.
- Fold both sides of the dough over the top of the chorizo, bacon and egg mixture. Then press the edges together to seal the contents.
- Place the dough onto a tray lined with baking paper and brush with a beaten egg.
- Bake in the oven for approximately 35 minutes or until the dough is cooked through and golden brown on top.
The bread is best served warm with an aioli on the side.