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April 2001 Issue
Easter/Passover Medley
by Victoria Smith
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About this time of year, back in the dark ages, my mother learned to ski. She learned at Grossinger's Resort in the Catskill Mountains, and she has always said that the food that she ate that weekend was superb. I have tracked down some of the recipes that she has mentioned to me, and I have included them this month along with a few traditional Easter recipes.

I remember the first Easter that I spent with my mom. I was nine years old, and we had been together for about a month. I didn't know much about Easter traditions, and I had never had a new Easter outfit. By the time that our first Easter rolled around, I had a new wardrobe, and Little Miss Rummage Sale was well on her way to becoming Little Miss Preppie.

My mom wanted my first Easter outfit to be special, so she decided to make it herself, except for the hat, purse, socks, underwear and shoes.

You have to know, by this point, that my mom has been sewing since she was about 4 years old.

We are both redheads, Mom and me, and, like most redheads, we like to wear the color pink. Depending upon the shade, this can be lovely or it can be a disaster.

Mom found a soft shade of pale pink hopsacking (sounds awful, but it is lovely fabric) and a sheer white cotton. Lots of lace, too, and teeny pink flowers.

She made me a frilly white blouse, trimmed with lace, and a pink skirt, jacket and cape, embroidered in white. She bought me a white straw bonnet and matching bag, ruffled socks, white gloves, and black Maryjanes. I was so elegant that I could hardly stand myself. I still have the outfit, packed away.

Now that I am grown (I'm 27), I hear the ticking of my biological clock, and I, too, want to adopt a school age girl one day.

I asked my mom this morning if she still has the patterns for that outfit, and she does! I think that I want to make it in pale green for my little girl, when she comes. Mom knows how to adjust patterns for size, so we can fit her whatever her age and size.

I can picture her in it, and she probably isn't even born yet. I wish that I could save her from the experience of foster care (I know about that), but there are some things that we can't control. All I can do is hope that we will find each other, and that I can do right by her, and love her like the very dickens.

And I hope that she will like my recipes.

Fruit and Nut Easter Eggs
Try piping a name on the egg after the chocolate is firm.
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 3/4 cup hot water
  • 1/2 pound marshmallow cream
  • 1/2 cup shortening -- melted
  • 1/4 cup confectioner's sugar
  • 2 cups candied fruit (pineapple and cherries)
  • nuts (to your liking)
  • dipping chocolate
In a saucepan, cook sugar, syrup and water to 265 degrees on a candy thermometer. Add marshmallow creme and beat until almost firm. Add melted shortening, confectioner's sugar, candied fruit and nuts. Mix well. Shape eggs by hand and dip in dipping chocolate. Makes 10 eggs which will keep for 6-8 months.
  • Yields: 10 eggs
  • Preparation Time: about an hour

Italian Easter Bread
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup warm milk -- 120-130 degrees
  • 2 tablespoons butter -- softened
  • 7 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mixed candied fruit -- chopped
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds -- chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise seed
  • Vegetable oil
In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add milk and butter; beat 2 minutes on med. Add 2 eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat 2 minutes on high. Stir in fruit, nuts and aniseed; mix well. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured board; knead until smooth, 6-8 min.

Place in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled; about 1 hour. If desired, dye remaining eggs while you wait for the dough to rise (leave them uncooked and use nontoxic dye); lightly rub with oil.

Punch dough down. Divide in half; roll each piece into a 24" rope. Loosely twist ropes together; place on a greased baking sheet and form into a ring. Pinch ends together. Gently split ropes and tuck eggs into openings. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 min. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.

  • Yields: 1 braided rope loaf
  • Preparation Time: about an hour
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