Gennaro & Bertolli with Butter
Casatiello / Easter Bread
makes 1 x large ring :
100 gr salami, cut into small cubes
100 gr pancetta, cut into small cubes
100 gr prosciutto, cut into small cubes
100 gr provolone, cut into small cubes
100 gr pecorino cheese, cut into small cubes
100 gr parmesan cheese, cut into small cubes
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
600 gr 00 flour or strong plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
25 gr fresh yeast
450 ml lukewarm water
semolina or dried breadcrumbs for sprinkling
Place all the cured meat and cheese in a bowl with the black pepper, mix well and set aside.
Mix the flour and salt together in a large bowl. Dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and add to the flour. Mix with your hands, gradually incorporating all the flour, until you obtain a smooth dough. Turn out on to a floured work surface and knead for about 3 minutes or until smooth, adding more flour to the work surface if necessary. Break off a piece of the dough about the size of a tennis ball and set aside. Spread the remaining dough out into a rough circle and add the meat and cheese mixture, kneading it into the dough until evenly combined. Continue to knead for a couple of minutes, then roll the dough into a large sausage shape about 65 cm long and seal the ends to form a ring.
Preheat the oven to 220 degrees centigrade.
Sprinkle some semolina or breadcrumbs on a large, flat baking tray and place the ring on it. Make 6 deep incisions around the top of the ring with a sharp knife and with your fingers enlarge each one to make a pocket. Place an egg lying flat in each pocket.
Take the reserved piece of dough, roll it out into a rough square and cut out 12 strips approx. 7.5 cms long. Place 2 strips criss-cross over each egg, brushing them with a little water so they stick well. Cover the loaf with a cloth and leave in a warm place until doubled in size.
Bake in the hot oven for 30 minutes or until golden. Delicious served hot or cold.