Happy (almost) Chocolate Fest 2016! This year's eggcellent greeting comes from Southern India, where I'm not sure Easter is really a thing. Nonetheless we are determined to have an Easter egg hunt with a whole mess of little Indian kids who have not ever had an Easter egg hunt before and are quite happy to run around like nutcases instead of listen to us blab on about rules. But we've lugged a kilo of mini chocolate eggs all the way from Australia and our enthusiasm will not be dampened. Hopefully, our enthusiasm will not be dampened.
I read a story about Easter eggs in India just before we left. It may be one of the best stories I've heard about entrepreneurial ingenuity and as a Chocolate Fest gift, I am going to share it with you. (Then I'm going to tell you about how I made bread in can for the first time ever.)
An Indian man who lived in India had a brother in the United Kingdom. This man had visited his brother in the UK, so he knew about Easter and he knew about Easter eggs and he knew that immediately after the Easter holiday, the eggs dropped in price. And he thought, 'Aha!' So he had his brother send him over kilos of out of date Easter eggs and he convinced young, about to be married couples in India that these were special 'good luck' eggs and certainly something you would want to have at your wedding. He single-handedly created a market for 'Good Luck Wedding Eggs' in India, using the old leftovers from an English Easter. Brilliant.
And now in a segue so smooth it would make an old, worn slippery dip feel like the rough side of a sponge, I am going to tell you about another brilliant Eastery idea. Bread in a can! Specifically, Ukrainian sweet Easter bread in a can. I love learning about other culture's food traditions, especially around Easter and Christmas- growing up in a secular, Australian family meant a lot of holiday feasting on burnt sausages, white bread and tomato sauce.
I don't know much about Eastern Europe and I know even less about Ukraine, but now I know that they make bread in a can at Easter time and it is really good when you eat it. (It is especially good when you eat it hot from the oven, but I am not going to pretend that getting the still hot bread out of the can in one piece is easy... or even possible.) The original recipe- which came from the gorgeous and informative Mamushka- used only sultanas to flavour the bread but I will never choose sultanas over any other option, so I decided to go with orange and dark chocolate. I believe I made the right choice, but if you are more pro-sultana than I, I suppose I can understand that. I would also really recommend using tins with no lip whatsoever at the opening- you see how there are no pictures of the de-tinned bread? That is because the de-tinned bread did not look pretty after I had wrangled it out of its aluminium home; it did not look pretty at all.
Candied Orange and Dark Chocolate Easter Bread - adapted from Mamushka.
makes 4 250g tins.
Warm the milk gently- it doesn't need to be hot.
In a large bowl add the yeast to the WARM milk and mix in 1 1/2 cups of the flour. Leave, covered loosely, til doubled in size.
Transfer to the bowl of a mixer and add the remaining ingredients. Mix on medium low until the dough comes together. Add flour a little at a time if the dough needs it.
Turn the dough on to a lightly floured surface and knead til smooth, about five minutes, adding more flour if need be.
Separate the dough into even pieces and push into the WELL GREASED tins. Leave, covered loosely, to rise until doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 200c. Bake the breads for ten minutes and then turn the oven temperature down to 170c. Bake for a further 30-40 minutes until browned on top and cooked through.
Cool completely in the tins, then enjoy!
2 tsp dry yeast
1 cup milk
3-4 cups plain flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup melted butter, cooled
3 egg yolks
1/2 tsp salt
2-3 tbsp candied orange, chopped
3/4 cup dark (70%) chocolate, chopped