Casatiello – Italian Easter Bread – with video

Casatiello Italian Easter Bread
One of the things I love about Italy is the passionate way holidays are celebrated and the imaginative foods that result. Easter is no exception!

Easter bread, a tradition throughout Naples and Southern Italy, has many names: Caniscione, Casatiello, Pizza Giana or Pizza Chiena. Each family has its own cherished recipe for this savory, meat and cheese filled bread. The loaf is thick, hearty and easy to transport in a picnic basket to celebrate Pasquetta, a big celebration on the day after Easter.

First, I want to share with you, Casatiello, an Easter bread from Naples. The ring shape and crisscross represent the Crown of Thorns and Passion of Christ. I love how the eggs are nested in the dough to signify rebirth or new beginnings.

Casatiello is made with a slowly rising yeasted dough and filled with savory delights. The eggs can be colored or al natural.

Here is the inside and out:

Casatiello Italian Easter Bread

Here I am in my little kitchen, showing you step-by-step.

buona Pasqua!

Casatiello

  • Servings: 6-8
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Celebrate Easter and the joy of spring.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups tepid water
  • 10 grams dry yeast
  • 2 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cups bread flour
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1/2 cup Pecorino cheese, cubed
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 4 raw eggs
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • coloring for eggs (optional)

Directions

    To make the dough:
  1. In a medium bowl, add water and yeast and stir to dissolve. Add butter and olive oil and stir well.
  2. Add 2 cups of flour, a bit at a time, whisking as you go. The dough will have the consistency of pancake batter. Add 2 pinches of salt and stir.
  3. Add the remaining flour (2 cups) all at once, and use your hands to mix until the flour is incorporated. The dough will be smooth and slightly sticky.
  4. Turn the mixture onto a floured board and begin to knead to incorporate all of the flour and create a soft dough. Very lightly flour the board as needed if the dough gets sticky. Keep kneading for 5 – 6 minutes until a soft, smooth, maleable dough is formed.
  5. Cut off a small piece of dough, about 3 tablespoons, and set aside. This will be used later to form the crisscross on the eggs.
  6. Using your fingertips, press and stretch the dough into a 12″ by 6″ rectangle.
  7. Add the filling:
  8. In a medium bowl, combine Pecorino, olives and sun-dried tomatoes and stir to mix. Pour the filling over the top of the dough broadcasting until it covers the dough.
  9. Casatiello

    Roll up the dough and filling much like a jelly roll and add several grinds of black pepper.

  10. Place the dough in a greased, 12-inch ring pan forming a doughnut shape.
  11. Gently press the 4 raw eggs into the ring of dough. The top half of the egg will stick out of the dough.
  12. Using the small piece of dough we set aside, pinch off a fourth and roll into a snake shape. Form a crisscross shape over one egg. Repeat for each egg. So adorable!
  13. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 1 1/2 hours until it just about doubles in size.
  14. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place on center rack and cook for 1 hour 15 minutes until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes and then turn onto a board. Cut into slices end enjoy! It is fun to remove the hard boiled eggs, peel them and eat them with the bread.
  15. It makes a complete meal! buona Pasqua!

4 thoughts

    1. Hi Jan,
      I brought a different Easter pie. It is a pizza giana that is also from the south but has a top and bottom crust sort of like a quiche filled with cheese and meat. I made a vegetarian version with cheese and Swiss chard with garlic. It is an Easter dish that comes from my family. I have the handwritten recipe from one of my relatives in Boston. I hope to get it on the blog soon! Thanks so much for your support!

Your comments are always welcome!