Sguti – Italian Easter Bread
During Easter time, we always make Sguti. These are also known as Italian Easter bread which is made of dough that is designed and wrapped around hard boiled eggs. On the Figliomeni side, we always have competitions to see who can make the best Sguti. Those who were not in the competition, were lucky enough to be on the judging panel. My aunt Laura was the winner last year, her secret, she adds Lemon Emolation to the recipe for a twist. On the Commisso side, we always get together at Nonna Pina’s house with the whole crew: aunts,uncles and cousins. We usually make a big batch, either after Good Friday mass or on Holy Saturday. The challenge is always to add a creative look to your egg, but sometimes we fall back on the more traditional braided look. Finally, we wait for the Sguti to rise. The first bite as they are removed hot from the oven is one of the best moments.
Here is the recipe:
- 4 eggs ( at room temperature, leave out the night before if posssible)
- 1 cup of sugar
- ½ cup of vegetable oil
- 2 envelopes or 2 tbsp of instant dry yeast
- ½ cup of lukewarm water
- 4 cups of flour
- 1.5 dozen eggs hard boiled
Mix the lukewarm water and dry yeast. Whisk the eggs, sugar and oil together in a separate bowl. In another mixer beat flour, add wet mixture on a low speed. Add the yeast mixture until it’s all blended together
If you feel the mixture is too doughy, add a little more water. It should feel like a pizza dough.
Knead dough with your hands for about 10 minutes. It is tradition in our family to make the sign of the cross on the dough and then on yourself before you begin the next step. This is a symbol of gratitude to God.
Once ready, cut off small pieces of the dough (approximately the size of golf ball), and roll it out into strips. Design your Sguti the way you want it, wrapping the dough around an egg or two. Some people like to add sprinkles to theirs, or colour the eggs as well. Some people also choose to make dough shapes without an egg. Our family may shape the dough into crosses or circular designs. As you start completing each one, place it on a blanket in a warm area i.e. kitchen counter or your bed, and then cover with another sheet/table cloth to help the dough rise (approx. 1 hour). Once they adequately risen, transfer to a lightly floured baking sheet.
Bake at 350०C for approx. 20 minutes until golden. After 15 minutes, brush the surface with an egg wash (1 egg white + 3 tbsp water) and resume baking for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let the cool before sampling.