Dolce Zitella's Latest Post, Zitella's Favorite Recipes

Buona Pasqua!


The following is a re-post from 2016.

Easter Tulips

Buona Pasqua means Happy Easter in Italian.  Saying it evokes vivid childhood memories of Easters spent at my grandparents’ house.  I remember each and every Easter dress, coat, and hat I wore.  But mostly, I remember the food.

An Italian-American immigrant, my father’s mother was old-school when it came to holiday cooking.  For Easter, she made lamb.  A whole baby lamb.  Maybe it’s a texture thing, but I’ve never cared for it.  Despite the accompanying caramelized roasted vegetables that decorated the large oval meat platter, the lamb looked like a small dog sprawled out on the good bone china.  It was enough to make my little brother cry.  “It’s a puppy!  Don’t make me eat it…”

My reward for suffering through the lamb was the Easter bread, called “cuzzupe.”  My grandmother and her sister each made it differently.  A serrated knife was needed to saw through my grandmother’s cuzzupe, which was intentionally dry and hard, to symbolize unleavened bread, while my Aunt Theresa’s cuzzupe was moist with a subtle vanilla aroma.  Regardless of which sister you asked, getting the recipe for cuzzupe was not an easy thing.  My mother eventually pieced together this much from them:

7 ½ eggs
1 stick butter
1 ¼ tbs vanilla extract
2 ½ tbs sugar
3 ¾ tsp baking powder
Salt
Add flour, a little at a time – enough flour to knead
confectioner’s sugar and egg white for the icing

Are you thinking what I’m thinking?  Why were they so specific about the SEVEN AND A HALF eggs, yet so vague about the quantity of flour?  Did they know just how much flour was needed simply by how the dough felt in their hands?

When I began hosting Easter at my house, I tried making the cuzzupe.  It was a disaster.  Luckily my mother has the patience, and she continues to make it every year, adjusting the recipe here and there.

Me?  I like a sure thing.  So I make the “cassata” or Easter cheesecake.  And I’m happy to share the recipe with you.

Easter Cheesecake recipe

Standard

4 thoughts on “Buona Pasqua!

  1. Sheila Reiter says:

    Dear Chris
    , Happy Easter to you. If I could say it in Gaelic I would but …. My memory of Easter was a little like yours. I lived with my Nanny and she would have two very large hams. Everyone came to Nanny’s house and so I was lucky enough to share holidays with my mother’s brothers and sisters. There were thirteen of them. They married and of course brought all their children to our house. We had cousins up the gazoo. There were twenty five on my mother’s side and fourteen on my dad’s. Dad’s family went to his folks, who happened to live right next door.
    I remember people sitting on the stairs, some on the floor and only the very lucky ones got to sit at the table. What happy memories!
    Only Nanny baked. My mother did later on and I never did. My bread came out like bricks and I think they even built a shed out of them. My Charlie does all the cooking so I am really blessed.
    If you cook and bake anything like your mom you are ever so lucky!!!
    Love to you,
    Sheila

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s