Pane di Pasqua (Easter Bread)… a symbol of renewal, one of Easter’s most treasured traditions comes to life with this delicious family recipe…

2-3/4 to 3-1/4 cups all-purpose flour – 1/4 cup sugar
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast – 1 teaspoon salt – 2/3 cups milk
3 tablespoons butter, divided – 2 teaspoons of grated lemon peel – 2 eggs
1/2 cup raisin (or mixed dried fruit morsels) – 3 to 4 uncooked eggs, dyed (optional)
For the Glaze:
1 cup confectioners’ sugar – 1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 to 2 teaspoons of water (or milk) – Candy sprinkles, optionalr.

Combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast, and salt, in a bowl. In a saucepan, add milk and 2 tablespoons butter, heat to lukewarm; add to the dry ingredients; stir well; add eggs and beat entirely. Add in extra flour, as needed, to form a soft dough.

Put dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in an oiled bowl, turn dough to oil top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled (about 1 hour).

When ready, punch dough down; place on a lightly floured surface. Divide dough into three portions. Shape each piece, equally, into about a 20-inch rope.
Braid ropes together, not too tight. Place on baking sheet, and pinch the ends together to form the ring. Brush the dough with melted butter.

Using the dyed eggs is optional, and if you do, gently insert them between, and around the dough ropes. Cover the cake, to let it rise until doubled.

Bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown. After the cake is cool, prepare the glaze: Combine confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice and enough water (or milk), in a bowl, mix to the desired consistency; brush over the bread.