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Pane di Pasqua

Pane di Pasqua

There’s a whole world of Easter breads beyond the trusty hot cross bun. Give something new a go with this buttery plaited beauty from Italy. This soft, magnificently buttery loaf is elegantly flavoured with anise and citrus. Traditionally it’s baked with dyed boiled eggs pressed into the dough, but we’ve decorated ours with mini chocolate eggs and sprinkles, for something a little bit different.

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  • Serves12
  • CourseDessert
  • Prepare40 mins
  • Cook35 mins
  • Total time1 hr 15 mins
  • Pluschilling and proving

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  • 3 star anise
  • 200ml whole milk
  • 500g strong white bread flour, plus extra
  • tsp fine sea salt
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 7g sachet easy-bake yeast
  • 4 British Blacktail Medium Free Range Eggs
  • 100g unsalted butter, cubed and softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 1 unwaxed lemon or scrubbed orange, zest
  • Coloured sprinkles and small chocolate eggs, to decorate


  1. Coarsely crush the star anise using a pestle and mortar or rolling pin. Put the milk in a pan over a low-medium heat, then add the star anise and heat gently until just below boiling point. Remove from the heat; set aside to cool to room temperature.

  2. Put the flour in the bowl of a freestanding mixer with a dough hook, along with the salt, sugar and yeast. Mix together, then break in 3 eggs and strain in the cooled milk (discard the star anise). Mix and knead for 5 minutes until smooth.

  3. Gradually add the butter, 1-2 cubes at a time, followed by the zest, then knead for 5-10 minutes to make a soft and silky dough. Lightly butter a large bowl, then scrape in the dough, cover and leave for 2 hours until doubled in size. Knead the dough for 2 minutes, then return to the bowl; cover and chill for at least 1 hour or up to 8 hours.

  4. Divide the chilled dough into 3 even pieces, then roll into 75cm-long ropes, ensuring they’re of even thickness along the length. If necessary, very lightly dust the work surface with flour.

  5. Carefully plait the 3 ropes of dough together, wrapping them gently to ensure the thickness of the ropes remains even. Line a large baking sheet with baking parchment.

  6. Lift the plait onto the lined tray and shape into a ring, tucking the ends underneath. Cover the dough loosely with baking parchment and leave to prove for 1-2 hours until well risen.

  7. Preheat the oven to 180˚C, gas mark 4. Beat the remaining egg with a large pinch of salt and 2 tbsp water. Carefully brush the eggwash over the dough, then scatter with the coloured sprinkles and bake for 25-30 minutes until the bread is dark golden and risen. Cool on a wire rack before decorating with chocolate eggs.


Typical values per serving when made using specific products in recipe


1,242kJ/ 296kcals



Saturated Fat












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5 out of 5 stars1 rating