The festival of Easter is most famously linked with the traditional ‘Hot Cross Bun’- a rich, aromatic and flavourful bread that’s filled with dry fruits and decorated with a Cross on the top. We’ve adapted our favourite Hot Cross Bun recipe to make ‘Easter Bunny Bread’ that’s as sweet to taste as it is adorable! Accompanied by our easy-to-make Meringue Chicks, the Easter Bunny Bread sure proved to be a success at the picnic we organised for our charming two-year-old neighbour.
Making the bread is as simple as mixing the dough, leaving it to rise and then shaping it into a ‘Bunny’. As shown in our video below, the bread is a breeze to make but looks very impressive once it’s baked. We hope you make the bread and serve your little guests the ‘Easter Bunnies’ too!
A delightful old lady lived down the lane, in a crumbling mansion of former fame.
She led a quiet life in her house of stone, with her old companion Maria making sure she wasn’t alone.
She’d always welcome a hungry guest and attend Mass every week wearing her Sunday best.
Miss. Rosalita De Silva only spoke in Portuguese, like a proper aristocrat of her day, if you please!
But what her neighbours loved about her the most, were her dainty Forminhas served on little squares of buttered toast!
And her Easter spread was a sight to behold! A treat for the taste buds, so we’ve always been told!
Delicious Sorpotel, Aad Mas and Chicken Roast, served with homemade Orange Wine, simply the best along the coast.
And the sweets! Oh, my? Where shall we begin?! From Sweet Rolls to Marzipan Eggs with a chocolate surprise within!
That July of 1942, good, old Rosalita would turn 72. What if people forgot her beloved recipes? Whatever was she to do?!
And so being the Angel that she’d always been, she slowly wrote down her recipes in the most beautiful Cursive you’ve ever seen.
Years later, this special book was passed on to me, from which I still make her cakes and biscuits for Tea.
The yellowed pages of her notebook so precious and old, are a treasure-trove of her recipes truly valuable to hold.
Ask anyone in Altinho if they remember this old lady so sweet, and they’ll tell you she had the most generosity in anyone they’ll ever meet!
Easter Bunny Bread Recipe
(Makes 4 Easter Bunnies)
For the Bread Dough:
- 1 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour (Maida)
- 1 tablespoon Sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 tablespoon Fast Action Bread Yeast
- 1 teaspoon Nutmeg Powder (Jaiphal)
- 2 tablespoons Water
- 4 tablespoons Milk
- 1/3 cup Condensed Milk
- 1/2 cup Mixed Dry Fruits
- 1 large Egg
- 3-4 tablespoons Vegetable Oil
- 3 heaped tablespoons unsalted Butter
For the Egg Wash:
- 1 small Egg
- 2 tablespoons Water
Activating the Yeast:
In a large bowl, combine the condensed milk, milk and water. Gently heat this sweet mixture in the microwave for 30 seconds, just until the liquid is warm to the touch.
Sprinkle the fast action yeast over the mixture and gently stir to dissolve. Leave the mixture in a warm place for 10-15 minutes for the yeast to activate. When the yeast is activated, the mixture will appear frothy and full of tiny bubbles on the surface.
Making the Bread Dough:
Whisk together the all-purpose flour, salt and sugar and keep aside. Beat the egg lightly.
Once the yeast has activated, add the egg and butter (at room temperature) to the mixture and stir gently. Do not worry if all the butter does not melt into the sweet, warm condensed milk mixture.
Add the nutmeg powder and stir to combine.
Add the flour to the condensed milk mixture in two batches, using a spatula to bring the dough together. The dough will be very soft and sticky at this stage.
Add the vegetable oil and gently bring the dough together into a ball. Knead the dough with the base of your palm for five minutes. To check if the gluten in the dough has developed well, gently poke the dough. If the dough springs back to your touch, you’ll know it’s formed well.
Pinch off 1/3rd of the dough and place it in a small bowl. This ‘Plain Bread Dough’ will form the head of the bunnies.
To the remaining 2/3rds of the bread dough, add the mixed dry fruits and combine. This ‘Dry Fruit Bread Dough’ will form the bodies of the bunnies.
Cover the mouth of the bowls with cling film (plastic wrap) or a tea towel. Keep the bowls in a warm place for the dough to double in size. This should take 1 1/2 to 2 hours in warm weather but might take longer in a cooler location. This process allows the bread dough to ‘Prove’ or develop.
Shaping the Bodies of the Easter Bunnies:
Line two baking trays with baking paper and lightly grease with a tablespoon of vegetable oil. Pre-heat the oven to 350*F/ 180*C/ Gas Mark 4.
Once the bread dough has doubled in size, use your fingers to gently knock the air out of the dough in both bowls.
Divide the ‘Dry Fruit Bread Dough’ into five equal parts to form the bodies of our bunnies.
Take one ball of the Dry Fruit Bread Dough, roll it into a ball and then begin to roll it between your palms into a 5-inch long cylinder. Shape two more balls of the Dry Fruit Bread Dough into 5-inch long cylinders.
Take a cylinder and roll it inwards to form a coil shape. Place this coil on the greased baking tray. This coiled cylinder will form the main body of each bunny. Coil all the cylinders in this way.
Take the last (fifth) portion of Dry Fruit Dough and divide it into 4 small balls to make the Bunny Tails. Place a ‘tail’ next to each coiled cylinder to form the body of the bunny.
Shaping the Heads of the Bunnies:
Divide the ‘Plain Bread Dough’ into four equal parts and roll them into four small balls.
Take one ball of dough and flatten it a little with your fingers. Use a sharp knife to cut the ‘circle’ of dough on one side. Then shape the ‘Ears’ of the Bunny with your fingers, making the other part of the circle longer to form the ‘Head’ of the Bunny. Shape the other portions of ‘Plain Bread Dough’ in the same way.
Place each ‘Head’ above the assembled ‘Body’ of each Bunny. Press a currant (black raisin) into the head of the Bunny to form an ‘Eye’
Baking the Easter Bunnies:
Beat the egg with a few tablespoons of water to make an egg wash. Gently brush each Bunny with the egg mixture. The egg helps the bread to develop a lovely golden-brown colour when baked.
Place the baking trays in the preheated oven (350*F/ 180*C/ Gas Mark 4) and bake for 20-25 minutes. The Easter Bunnies will turn a golden-brown and fragrant once baked. To check if the bread has baked well, tap the bottom of a ‘Bunny’ and it should sound hollow.
Serve the Easter Bunnies warm, with some butter or jam spread across it. The Bunnies may be stored in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to 3 days.
A Hot Cross Bun Recipe usually contains only Milk. We’ve added the Condensed Milk for the extra flavour that it brings to the rich, sweet dough. You could substitute the Condensed Milk for plain Milk as well.
The Mixed Dry Fruits may be added to the entire batch of Bread Dough if you’d prefer to make simple Buns instead of Easter Bunnies.
A Milk Glaze may be used instead of the Egg Wash to give the bread a lovely golden-brown colour. Simply brush the Easter Bunnies with a few tablespoons of milk before placing the baking trays in the oven.
Story Notes: Our stories, set in the early 1900s, are entirely fictional & inspired by childhood tales, local legends and books.