Easter Bread is a moist and delicious sweet bread flavored with lemon zest, and orange blossom water. It has a crown of pastry cream and decorations, usually cherries, figs, and chocolate easter eggs. In Argentina, people make this bread for Easter and Three Kings’ Day. Yep! That’s a thing in South America! Today I want to share my Easter Bread with creme patissiere recipe. It is delicious and has a soft buttery crumb that pulls apart. I will also teach you how to make the tastiest creme patissiere (or pastry cream) you’ll ever try. I decorated it with mini eggs, royal icing, and pearl sugar to keep it delicate.
How to make Easter Bread with Creme Patissiere?
These are roughly the steps we’re going to follow to make this recipe:
- Make the sponge and let it rest
- Mix the dough using the sponge and the rest of the ingredients. Let it rise
- Prepare the pastry cream while the dough rests
- Shape the dough into a big donut and let it rise
- Brush the top of the bread with the eggwash and bake
- Decorate the bread with the pastry cream and finish baking
- Let it cool, and place the decorations
How do we make Easter Bread dough?
We can mix the dough in the stand mixer with a dough hook attachment. But we can also mix it by hand. Leaving the butter for last, we make a dough with all the ingredients, including the sponge. Then we add the soft butter in two parts. We need to knead the dough, lift it with a scraper and bang it onto the table. As a result, the dough will become less sticky, and the gluten will form. If you use a stand mixer, continue mixing until the butter is combined and you get a nice and smooth dough.
Cold Rise: How does it work?
If you want to make your dough ahead, you can use the cold rise technique. Make the dough the day before baking and let it rest in the fridge, covered with plastic, for 8 to 12 hours. Remove from the fridge, and proof as the recipe calls. It will take an extra half an hour, or more, to double in size. With this method, not only you’ll be able to work in advance, but you’ll get a dough with more depth of flavor.
How to fill the Easter Bread with Creme Patissiere?
Some people like to fill their Easter bread. You can do it with the same creme patissiere we did for the top. There are two ways of doing it:
- Fill before baking. Roll the dough and spread the pastry cream, then roll it like a cinnamon roll, and stick the ends together, to make a donut shape and bake. This method is not my favorite since you can get air pockets inside the bread during baking.
- Bake, cut, and fill. Bake the bread fully and once it’s cold, cut it in half, and fill it like a cake, with a piping bag. Put the top back and decorate it with more pastry cream. With this method, you must refrigerate the bread since the pastry cream is fresh. Remove from the fridge two hours before serving.
How to unmold the Easter Bread?
There are two ways of baking and unmolding this bread:
- On a baking tray. Shape the dough and place it on a buttered tray. You also may place a baking ring in the center to avoid the dough from closing in the middle. The benefit of this way is you don’t have to unmold it. The con is that the dough can get an off shape.
- On a Savarin mold: The dough keeps its shape but you need to unmold it before decorating it. When the first bake is done, unmold the bread onto a clean baking tray and pipe the pastry cream. Bake again to cook the pastry cream.
Don’t add extra flour to the dough
When we add the butter to the dough, it gets sticky and moist. Even if you feel tempted to add more flour, don’t. If you add extra flour, the bread will become dry after baking. If you continue to knead, the air will dry out the dough and it will get firm and smooth. Use a dough scraper to work comfortably.
When should I put on the decorations?
- If you use cherries, figs, or other fruits and nuts, place them together with the creme patissiere.
- If you’re using easter eggs, royal icing, and pearl sugar, place them after baking, when the bread is cold. Colored mini eggs should be placed on the same day as serving because they can color bleed into the pastry cream after a couple of hours.
Easter Bread with Creme Patissiere Conservation
Keep this Easter bread at room temperature, covered with plastic wrap, for up to five days. However, it’s better to eat it within the first two days.
Easter Bread with Creme Patissiere
For the sponge:
- 100 g All purpose flour
- 60 ml Warm milk
- 8 g Instant Yeast/ 24g fresh yeast
- 15 g Honey 1 tbsp
For the dough:
- 40 g Granulated sugar
- Zest of ½ lemon
- 150 g All purpose flour
- ½ tsp Salt
- 1 Egg
- 1 Egg yolk
- 10 g Ron It can be another liquor or milk
- 1 tsp Orange blossom water
- 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 60 g Unsalted butter Soft
For the egg wash:
- 1 Egg
- 1 tbsp Milk
- 1 pinch Salt
- 1 tsp Sugar
- 1 batch of Creme Patissiere see recipe below
- Mini eggs
- Pearl sugar
- Dried strawberry powder optional
- 100 g Powdered/ Icing sugar
- ½ Egg white 15g
- 2 tsp Water or lemon juice
- Make it a day in advance if you prefer to cool it in the fridge. Or, make it while the dough rests. In that case, cool it down with an ice water bath. See the recipe below.
For the sponge:
- Mix all the ingredients and form a dough. Cover and let rest at room temperature for half an hour.
For the dough:
- Mix the sugar with the lemon zest with your hands until getting moist sugar.
- In a bowl or on the counter, mix the sugar with the flour and salt. Form a well in the center. Place the rest of the ingredients in the well, except the butter. Also, add the sponge (cut into small pieces). Work with your hands until you get a dry dough. You can do this by hand or with the stand mixer using the dough hook attachment.
- Add the soft butter in two parts and knead until the dough is smooth 10 to 20 minutes.
- Make a bun and let it rest, covered until doubled in size, for about an hour.
- While the dough rests, make the creme patissiere and let it cool. See the recipe below.
- Punch down the dough. Make a hole in the middle and stretch with your hands until getting a big donut shape.
- Place the dough in a buttered savarin mold or a buttered tray. Let it rest covered until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.
- Make the egg wash by mixing all the ingredients with a fork. Brush the dough with the egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (180ºC) until lightly golden, for 20 minutes. While the bread is baking, set a piping bag with a star tip and fill it with the creme patissiere.
- Remove the bread from the oven, wait 5 minutes and unmold it onto a clean baking tray. Decorate it with the pastry cream making a zigzag pattern on top. Bake again for 10 more minutes, until golden brown.
- For the royal icing, whisk all the ingredients together until firm and glossy. Place it in a small piping bag, and drizzle it on top of the bread. You can also use melted chocolate instead of icing.
- Decorate the bread with mini eggs, pearl sugar, and strawberry powder. The bread has to cool down before putting the decorations on.
- 500 ml Whole milk
- 120 g Granulated Sugar
- 6 Egg yolks
- 40 g Cornstarch
- 1 tsp Vanilla extract vanilla paste, or a vanilla bean
- 60 g Cold unsalted butter cut into cubes optional
- In a saucepan mix half of the sugar with the milk and vanilla extract. If you have a vanilla bean, cut it in half longwise and scrape the seeds with the back of a paring knife. Place the seeds along with the bean in the pot with the milk.
- Bring the pot to medium-high heat, mixing occasionally.
- In a bowl, combine the rest of the sugar and the egg yolks with a hand whisk.
- Add the cornstarch to the yolk mixture and combine.
- Wait for the milk to boil. Remove the vanilla bean. Pour the boiling milk over the egg yolk mixture slowly, while mixing with a hand whisk.
- Pour the mixture back into the same saucepan. Bring it to low heat and mix constantly, until the cream boils (it will thicken, and you will see large bubbles). Use a hand whisk.
- Remove from the heat, and add the cold butter cut into cubes and mix well with a hand whisk or spatula.
- To cool it down, place it in an ice water bath, stirring occasionally, until the cream is cold. Cover with plastic wrap and keep it in the fridge.
You can also cool it down in the fridge with plastic in contact. Keep in mind that you will have to mix once cold to get a soft consistency.
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