This typical Italian bread is given a new makeover with the addition of unconventional ingredients, such as chorizo, and eggs, which are a strong Easter symbol as they celebrate life, rebirth, etc. The choice of ingredients you decide to fill your wreath with is totally up to you. I recently found out smoked cheese and black olives are a match made in heaven and, for that matter, smoked cheese seems to be complementing them quite well too. For those of you who are unused to eggs being baked in the oven, let me ensure you this is a traditional Italian centerpiece. If you don’t like/want eggs on top, just leave them out, the wreath will be very flavoursome and beautiful as it is. Also, the whole assembling phase might seem long winded and difficult, but let me ensure you I had not done this before and it was a piece of cake. Happy Easter everyone!
- 600g strong bread flour
- 12g powdered yeast
- 150g black olives, finely chopped
- 5 eggs, well cleaned and scrubbed
- 1 tsp sugar
- 150g smoked cheese, grated
- 150g cooking chorizo sausage, skin removed, minced
- olive oil
- To make the dough, put the strong bread flour in a bowl, then dissolve the yeast and sugar in 300ml lukewarm water. Add to the flour and start mixing that in.
- While mixing, slowly add 3 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp salt.
- Bring the dough together and knead on a floured work surface for about 5-10 minutes, until the dough is pliable and elastic. Shape it into a ball, transfer it to an oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for 2 hours.
- Once the dough has risen, take about 100g from it and set it aside. You will need that later to decorate the eggs.
- Divide the leftover dough in three pieces of equal size.
- Working one of the pieces at a time, roll it out with a rolling pin so as to obtain a long strip approximately 35-40cm long. Fill it with your favourite filling (olives, chorizo and cheese in this case), then fold the long edges onto it so as to enclose it in the dough.
- Roll the long tube gently in order to seal it, then set aside. Repeat for the other fillings.
- Line a round baking tray with baking parchment.
- Join the three cilinders together at the top and press it gently on to the working surface so as to make it stick it to the table. Lay the three long tubes well spaced one from the other.
- Start threading them together as per picture below, then bring the edges together to form a round wreath-like shape.
- Place 4 eggs at regular intervals on the wreath and use the dough previously set aside to make long strips to fix them.
- Leave to rise again for about 30 minutes in a warm place, until almost doubled in size.
- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, then lightly beat the remaining egg and use it to glaze the the whole surface of the wreath (minus the eggs).
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, then transfer to a serving dish and enjoy while still warm.