Hot Cross BunsBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterHot Cross Buns are traditionally eaten on Good Friday, but actually most bakeries in the United States make them starting on Ash Wednesday and bake their last batch for Easter Sunday. There are several versions of this Easter treat, some have no fruit, others have raisin, and some, like these from my Father's recipes have raisins, orange peel and citron. The cross on the top is generally made from a slurry of mixing flour and water, which I don't think is great tasting, so my father always made the cross on top using his custard recipe, which I have included.
Hot Cross buns have a history that goes back centuries. We tend to think of them as an Easter pastry, but have origins that go much further back to pre-christian times. A very early version of of the buns were baked to celebrate Eostre, a Germanic Goddess of Fertility. The symbolism for the Christian version has the cross on the top as a symbol of the crucification, the spices used to signify the spices used in embalming and the orange peel reflecting the bitterness of his time on the cross. Classic PanettoneBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterThis Panettone recipe, of all my Father's recipes (so far that is) has taken the longest to develop. To my recollection, he never made this while we had our family bakery in Northern California, but did make it during his apprenticeship in the 1930's. Several versions appear in his journal. Some had the dough resting overnight in the refrigerator, some had three risings, others had two. There were small changes in the amounts of butter and sugar, but none were overly sweet and none had nuts. So, for home use, I find this to be the easiest, and can be made in a day. The extract - Fiori di Sicilia can be found in some specialty stores, but you can also find it on Amazon. It is an important component in this recipe if you want that hard to detect aroma and flavor you find in top quality imported brands. Another important ingredient is good quality peel. You may find very fine orange, lemon and citron at Italian delicatessens, or again, on line. I do apologize for the lateness in posting this recipe. If you don't have time to make it this season, I hope you give it a try for the next. Try it toasted, or as French Toast. It's wonderful!Pumpkin Spice SconesBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterScones are always a morning or tea time favorite. Now that Fall is around us, making treats using pumpkin is a natural. You can serve these pumpkin scones warm and plain, or slather with butter, clotted cream, preserves or honey. The scones are especially good warm and spread with a mixture of sweet butter, honey and a dash of cinnamon. Just mix a 1/4 cup of soft butter with a tablespoon of honey and an 1/8 teaspoon of cinnamon, or nutmeg if you prefer. The scones will keep for several days. Store in a zip lock bag and reheat prior to eating. The raw scones may also be frozen for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, simply place on a baking sheet, allow to thaw, and then bake per the original instructions.Classic Danish PastryBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterMy Dad made some of the best Danish pastry that I have ever tasted. In all my travels, I've tasted just a few that have come up to his standards. This recipe does take two days to complete, but it's worth it. The end result is a rich, buttery, flakey pastry with a touch of sweetness taken further by the fillings or additions you choose. I'm particularly fond of almond, but there are so many variations from which to choose. Preserves, custard, raisins and nuts are some that come to mind.Viennese Kugelhopf Easter Bread #IBy Marjorie Perotti-Brewster
This is the classic from my Father's 1930's journal. A Viennese Kugelhopf Easter Bread that is rich and buttery with plump raisins, candied orange peel and toasted almonds. You get a hint of the Meyer's rum, more an aroma than a distinct taste. You can serve it plain, dusted with powdered sugar, or drizzled with a glaze. It takes at least 24 hours from start to to finish, as it needs to rest in the refrigerator over night, and the two proofing times add up to about 5 hours. However, if you have the time, it is well worth the effort.Viennese Kugelhopf Easter Cake #IIBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterThis recipe is a simpler version of the Viennese Easter Bread, Kugelhopf. It's a bit like a rich pound cake with plump raisins, toasted almonds, and a hint of citrus. Moist and not too sweet it's perfect with morning coffee or afternoon tea, and makes great gifts for the host or hostess of your Easter meal. Try it using the Fiori di Sicilia in place of the orange extract. I can almost guarantee that you will never again be without of small bottle of this delightful essence.Dad’s Hearty Pumpernickel BreadBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterDad's Pumpernickel was one of my favorites growing up. Taken warm from the oven, we often broke it open and slathered the piece with fresh sweet butter. The aroma, nutty flavor and chewiness of this wonderful, rich combination of grains filled the senses and the soul. It's actually quite easy to make. Between the ease of instant yeast, and the Dutch Oven acting somewhat like a commercial baker's oven, it's hard to go wrong.Challah BreadBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterChallah is a wonderful egg rich bread that just keeps on giving. When it is warm and fresh, eat slices with butter and honey, or mustard with thin slices of roast beef. The following days make terrific French Toast, and providing you still have a bit left, make Bread Pudding Laced with Rum. Bread Pudding Laced with RumBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterThis is a wonderful, soul serving dessert. You can also use many types of day old white breads, even sweet French if that's what you have on hand. The important thing is to let the bread set in the custard mixture before baking. This will insure a custard like texture through and through.Crusty Rye BreadBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterThis is a wonderful, deeply flavored and crusty bread. To get the crust as shown in the photo, you will need to follow the directions using the heated dutch oven. However, you may also split the dough in two and bake in 2 one pound conventional loaf bread pans. This will yield a softer crust, but still a wonderful bread.Almond SconesBy Marjorie Perotti-BrewsterThis recipe calls for buttermilk. If you are like me, you have limited use for that quart of buttermilk that your store carries. You might try purchasing Buttermilk Powder. It is readily available in most grocery stores and keeps for a very long time. If you choose to use the powder, simply add 2 Tablespoons(22g) of the powder to the 1/3 cup of water and stir until it is completely dissolved. Then add as directed in the recipe.