On the savoury side:
Eggs are included in this Italian classic to symbolise the rebirth of Christ, but they also provide a bit of extra colour and protein. On the pastry-making front, there is some good news: traditionally the pastry was 33 layers of dough to represent the 33 years of Christ, but this has been reduced to a more manageable four.
This hearty meal is the taste of Easter in the French countryside: roast lamb and beans, complete with a hefty dose of butter, garlic and cider.
These crisp little cheesy, minty, fruity pastries are a little fiddly to prepare, so recruiting family members to help fold the parcels is the best way to go—plus, it's a fun activity to bring everyone together and keep little ones entertained.
A colourful salad that combines fresh, pickled, soft and crunchy vegetables in a dressing of mayonnaise, capers and dill—a sharp and refreshing side dish for any Easter feast.
Grilling the snapper whole gives it that delicious balance of crispy skin and tender flesh, and marinating it first in a paste of garlic salt, cumin, paprika, vinegar and olive oil, gives it delicious flavour dimensions.
This dish is made and eaten in Spain on the Monday after Easter. It comes in several versions across the country and often appears in stuffed bread-loaf form as well as pie-form.
On the sweet side:
The filling of these pastries is a smorgasbord of festive flavours: walnuts, almonds, sesame seeds, dates, cinnamon, nutmeg and honey.
Traditionally, this buttery, flaky, spiralled beauty is an Easter bread in Mallorca, but it's so good that it's now eaten for breakfast at other times of the year.
This decorative loaf is festive in appearance and meaning: it's topped with a party of vanilla pastry cream, glacé cherries and pearl sugar, and shaped in a ring shape to symbolise eternal life.
In full celebration mode, this pudding brings together bread, booze, butter, spices and cheese. It's traditionally eaten on Good Friday.
More brioche than sponge cake, but let’s not get wrapped up in semantics - this rich dough is filled with is a swirl of toasted walnuts, sugar, cocoa, rum and lemon rind - and that’s all that matters.
Julia Frey's grandma would start the dough the night before, let it rise overnight and wake up well before dawn to make all kinds of goodies – filled pastries, sweet and savoury, cinnamon buns and kulich. "Waking up to the sweet aroma of freshly baked bread is one of my favourite childhood memories. My grandma’s baking was the best – none of my friends’ grandmas came even close. Unfortunately, she never wrote down any recipes. I didn’t think any recipe could top my grandma’s and I almost feel guilty for saying this, but this adapted recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen, a blog I love, is without a doubt the most luxurious kulich I have ever had. The first loaf was gone within hours… thank goodness the recipe makes three!"
14. Hot cross buns
You know Easter is on its way when hot cross buns hit the shops.
These dainty little sweet-and-salty cakes are a fun option for the chocolate-fest of Easter.
Babka comes in many forms (which may have learnt from Seinfeld, when Elaine was mortified that the chocolate babka had sold out at her local bakery, and she had to settle for cinnamon), and this Ukrainian version features plump raisins and is scented with citrus.
Bunny shapes are not a hard-and-fast rule for these marzipan-based biscuits, but they do add an unmistakably “Easter” touch. They're traditionally eaten on Easter Sunday, so could be a cute supplement to chocolate eggs on an Easter egg hunt.
Traditionally served as a stuzzichino (an appetiser), these crisp fennel-scented biscuits hail from Puglia. Although typically associated with Easter, they are eaten throughout the year alongside an aperitif for dunking.
I remember my babushka [grandmother] starting to collect onion peels weeks before so there would be enough to colour dozens of eggs. Then, on Easter Sunday, little knocks on our front door would begin and my granny with a big bowl of beautifully coloured eggs would be at the ready, opening the door to hear the neighbourhood children chant, “Christ is risen!” To which she would reply, “Risen indeed!” and give them each an egg. That went on for hours.
An updated version of the traditional favourite, these hot cross buns are studded with chunks of dark chocolate and tart, dried cherries. They're simply too hard to resist – especially when served warm with lashings of butter!
This dish combines some of those excellent southern Italian flavours, the powerful herbiness of oregano matched with sweet honey and salty black olive combine to give an aromatic combination. The honey and oregano butter is happy on either meat or seafood as long as there’s the smoky element of having something chargrilled. A perfect dish for a summer barbecue.