I wanted to post this before Easter but time just seems to slip away down on this part of the world… I am not religious but any excuse to cook and eat is a good excuse for me! I absolutely love cooking! I feel like I’m in my lab, mixing a bunch of things together and making magic happen!
Much the same as the hot cross buns here in Australia, the traditional Easter bread in Portugal is called “Folar da Pascoa” and is a sweet doughy fennel flavoured bread. This year I decided to get crafty in the kitchen and make myself one of these portuguese Easter breads.
I found this great recipe for the easter bread which is itself already a slightly modified version from the traditional recipe. This original recipe is in Portuguese but you can try translating it with google translator. Because I’m a celiac and I try to stay away from refined gluten free flours, and because I could not find some of the ingredients, I had to make a few substitutions. I will post the recipe in English with the changes I made.
Portuguese Sweet Easter Bread recipe – Folar da Pascoa
- 100g of coconut flour (the original recipe uses 300g of wheat flour)
1 teaspoon (ts) of salt
100g of warm water
1 packet of (gluten free) dry yeast
2 eggs + 1 yolk for glazing
90g raw brown cane sugar (the original recipe uses 100g casting sugar)
120g of good farm style cottage cheese (originally you would use goat cottage cheese but I only found cow)
zest of 1 lemon (you can also use orange zest like the original recipe)
1 ts ground cinnamon
1 ts fennel seeds
30g of lard + 30g olive oil (I had to melt my own lard from pig fat that a generous butcher offered me because I couldn’t find it anywhere; Although I had seen my grandma’ doing this when I was a child from the pigs my gradparents raised themselves, there was only so much I could remember, so I followed this nice tutorial that I found online)
Dissolve the yeast in the warm water, mix and put aside.
Mix the cottage cheese, eggs, melted lard, olive oil and sugar. Add the cinnamon, lemon zest and the dissolved yeast and mix slightly. Start pouring the flour little by little. Knead the mixture and add a little more coconut flour if needed, until it forms a compact dough. Because I was using coconut flour, the dough was not as elastic as you would expect if using wheat flour. Put the dough in a plastic container or a big bowl and cover with cling wrap. In a large pan that you can fit the dough container in or on top, add boiling water. Put the dough container on top, cover with a tea towel and leave it to rest for around 2h.
Preheat the oven to 180C. Transfer the dough to a tray lined with baking paper and glaze it with the egg yolk. Traditionally you would also insert a raw egg on top of the dough. I skipped this but it’s up to you! Bake for 40 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean), covering the dough with aluminium foil for the first and last 10 minutes to avoid getting too dark.
It was a bit crumbly because the coconut flour doesn’t have the gluten that gives dough its elasticity but the taste was absolutely amazing! Try toasting it and adding butter and cheese. YUMBO! Hope you enjoy it!… And you can make it after Easter too, I promise I won’t tell anyone! 😉